Two approaches – which would you chose? As retailers continue to struggle with a consumer happier to scroll than to stroll, some are betting on design – both over the top, and under the radar to attract shoppers.
First up, a sumptuously serene and almost barren concrete space has been created to showcase the most visible of all products – beauty items. The store, located in Hong Kong, has been designed by renowned design firm AIM Architecture, to resemble a traditional apothecary.
Taking cues from traditional chemists – where medicines were stored in apothecary cabinets made up of small drawers – the store is designed to be a space for exploring and discovering. The design group, who previously designed the brand’s first bricks and mortar store in Shanghai, said it wanted the store to offer a tangible experience to customers who would ordinarily only experience the brand digitally.
“With this newly opened Hong Kong location, we explored this online/offline duality of the brand even further,” explained the Chinese firm. “In this era of moments, stories and sales, culturally, we are at an intersection. Consumers want convenience but crave experience. Online shopping will never lose its allure, but there’s a real challenge for brands to experiment with the dynamics of modern consumption.”
Will a whisper work? Only time will tell.
On another continent, a large retail consortium has decided to shout to get its shopper’s attention. Think maybe a skate half pipe suspended in the air over the shopping floors.
The age-old French department store, Bon Marche, has hired a specialty designer to create something “impactful “ around their Los Angeles Rive Gauche exhibition in Paris, where a curated selection of LA fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products reflecting the 70s were being displayed. Chicago architecture practice MANA and skateboarder Scott Oster chose to create a skate ramp encased within a reflective silver cube in the atrium. (as one does…)
Having grown up in that era and skated professionally, Oster wanted to create something unique and sculptural – or, as he describes, “a piece of art that happened to be skateable”.
Inspired by the massive concrete full-pipes he saw as a kid in skateboard magazines, Oster designed a unique full-pipe set within a cube and wrapped with mirrors. Skating events are hosted their several times a week, attracting gawkers – now let’s see if they in turn become shoppers.