How inspirational brands from around the world communicate their values through innovative store
Words by Kay Hill
The last thing that brands want is for their customers to walk down the high street and feel that all the shops are the same. They want their stores to offer instant recognition in the form of visual clues as well as a more subtle sense of the values of a brand.
Alasdair Lennox of Fitch explains: ‘There’s a difference between a branded environment and a brand experience. A branded environment is where the colours and the shapes and the forms all point towards that brand identity – it is very visual and assertive. What we do is a brand experience. It’s not the colours on the walls or the logo that you see, it’s the vibe, the ambience, the experience and how you introduce it. There’s something in all that which immediately connects you to the personality of the brand, and each brand has a different emotional territory.’
Hamleys World, newly opened in Moscow, dwarfs the classic Regent Street store and has been designed by Fitch to appeal to the childhood need for exploration and play. The store’s meandering footpaths send shoppers along a yellow brick road through nine diverse worlds that each centre on a different theme
Sarah Page, creative director at Household Design, agrees: ‘The visual identity is just a badge, the front cover of a book. We work closely with the client to understand the brand’s personality and how it will capture and engage with the customer; and how it needs to follow that through in the materials, the lighting and especially through the service it offers. What the brand is really all about has to come out across the store and the website; brands that don’t step up in this way are going to lose.’
FX has sought out an inspirational selection of projects around the world that instantly set their brand apart at the first glimpse and through a deeper connection with the brand values.
Alasdair Lennox of Fitch designed the Lego Pick and Mix Wall while doing the overall scheme for the brand’s store in Leicester Square. The concept succeeded in capturing the sense of fun, excitement and creativity that Lego represents so brilliantly that it has been incorporated into every Lego store design since
The three floors of Level Kids children’s store in Dubai, designed by Fitch, take the customer on a fantasy journey under the sea, across the savannah and into the sky, capturing a sense of childhood imagination and fun. The project just won Best International Store Design of the Year at the Retail Week Interiors Awards
I-Am used everything from a new logo to the colours of the finishes to help establish Tower London as a premium urban shoe brand. The store design highlights Tower’s connection to urban London life and youth culture through the use of a strong palette of blacks, greys and yellows and textures of concrete and reinforced glass
Gensler designed the new flagship retail store for Brooks Trailhead. The running shop is next to Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail, and the brand’s love of the great outdoors and adventure has been captured by making the shop an extension of the trail, bringing the outside in with elements including trees, brick walls and rustic outdoor tables
The White Company, which sells clothing, home and fragrance items, asked Household Design to create the perfect setting for its luxury bedding at its Sleep Studio in Marylebone High Street, London. The design has a tranquil, comfortable, homely image, using low-level lighting to create a cosy domestic bedroom atmosphere and a palette of solid timbers, such as oak, with pale and white washes to give a home style and texture
Japanese architect Moriyuki Ochiai was a finalist in SBID’s International Design Excellence Awards for his highly creative retail design for a dairy company. He captured the freshness and goodness of the brand with a display brimming with the lively, vital energy of fresh milk, referencing in its design the forest surrounding the farm on which its cows are raised