Now that the Olympics have finished and the Paralympics are under way there are big plans afoot for the freshly redeveloped areas of East London that played host to many of this summers exhilarating events. The 500-acre site of the Olympic Park was the largest recreational space launched in Europe for 150 years. During the lead up to the Olympics the retail areas of Stratford have been transformed with new retail centres such as the 184 acre Westfield Shopping Centre – home to some cutting edge innovations in pop-up retail and interior retail design.
Barber have designed several of the stores and window displays at Westfield, including Imagin, who approached us to help develop their brand and create a striking retail environment. Barber provided the complete retail store concept including external fascia, brand communication, retail interior design, navigation and customer education through to managing the shopping centre approval process. The result was a unique brand and retail environment with a well lit, clean white backdrop to showcase Imagin’s colourful products. This approach obviously paid dividends as Imagin were delighted when soon after opening, the store was voted the ‘best store in Westfield’ by Westfield management.
Another striking design by Barber at Westfield is our retail design for the Nike concession within FootAsylum. Nike approached us to bring our own flair for visual merchandising to their concessions and window displays – presenting the new Nike Basketball ‘Dream Team’ range to London’s Olympic consumers. The concession space compliments FootAsylum’s existing retail interior design whilst also allowing Nike to feature and highlight key lines and product promotions and providing them with the flexibility to change the visual merchandising regularly.
So what now for Westfield Shopping Centre? Once the Paralympics are over on September 9th will this huge shopping centre be able to sustain the same progressive level of trade? The site at Westfield has become a new commercial centre for East London boosted not only by retail stores but by trade from Europe’s fastest-growing cluster of technology businesses. The Olympic accommodation blocks are being turned into new homes with more residential developments planned. Bringing approximately 12,000 new homes to the area.
“Stratford is all about the next decade, not the last,” says developer Harry Handelsman. “The area is maturing fast and the excitement of the pre-Games period will continue,” he adds. “It is a better time to buy in Stratford now than during the entire pre-Games period, when the area was a giant construction site and the property market was prone to mini cycles.”
An influx of owner-occupiers and home building in this area combined with the diverse array of shops and innovative retail interiors mean that the Westfield Shopping centre is very likely to move forward successfully. The retail centre features many independent boutique retailers with interesting retail interiors installed alongside traditional high-status retailers such as Waitrose and John Lewis. The influence of retail guru, Mary Portas is evident throughout the site. She was brought in when Westfield was first developed, to enhance the retail interior design of the centre. Portas wanted to capture the creative spark of East London and reflect the vitality and innovation that the area is known for. She commissioned a cultural committee to provide seating, sculptures and lighting for the centre including eco-friendly paving slabs that store the energy developed by the shopper’s footsteps.
With all of these factors in place the future for Westfield and the surrounding area looks bright and we look forward to being involved in store designs there for many years to come.