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  1. The prince of prints takes over your home


    Matthew Williamson unveils his debut collection of fabrics and wallpapers for Osborne & Little for September 2013.

  2. Big Gas Savings from Kmart


  3. Gone Home


    Gone Home is a first-person interactive story developed and published by The Fullbright Company. The plot focuses on exploration of its setting. It takes place in June 1995 at a house in the Pacific Northwest, with a young woman who returns after travelling abroad to find her entire family gone from their home.

  4. The Future is Here – Design Museum


    Last Thursday we went to see the Design Museum’s latest exhibition on the future of manufacturing. A great example of a single idea well executed. The exhibition looks at the latest technologies used for the large-scale, highly technical production of plane engines, down to simple CNC machines, which produce bespoke, cost-effective furniture. One area contains a workshop manned by the in-house design team. They are continually experimenting with a desktop 3D printer, laser etching and cutting machine as well as other fabrication machines to see what is possible. The output is quite varied, but gives a great insight into the possibilities an individual can achieve without breaking the bank.

  5. Will Eating Save Retail?


    As a child growing up in the UK I have fond memories of BHS’s café and its fish and chips. It’s amazing how much our casual dining offers have improved over the last 30 years, but the change in the last few has been the most marked. The new variety, reach, value and range of offers in the UK, and all those we get to sample through traveling internationally, is very exciting.

    The shift has been happening at all levels. We see the more value offers, McDonald’s, KFC and the likes, moving upmarket to meet changing consumer tastes, then there is the breadth of new casual dining offers that have national coverage, think Leon, Paul or Wagamama, alongside new trends, such as food markets, street food and pop-up operations. The food sector appears to be acting in the same way as fashion – value operators and new market entrants are upping their game, leading to a continuous cycle of new, fresh and relevant concepts.

    Traditionally, department stores have often incorporated eateries, but there is a push now across most department store chains to refresh these, to up the ante. Major retailers are now picking up on this focus on food and looking to either improve their existing hospitality offers or develop new ones. Think Topshop Oxford Street with its Eat concession or the integration of Costa and Starbucks in Next’s out-of-town formats… the list is long. Last year Tesco bought Giraffe, an independent family chain, invested in Harris and Hoole and have now set up the company Tesco Family Dining to run their new carvery brand, Decks. Tesco is using these operations to develop its store formats (see Watford as an initial glimpse) and deliver a breadth of experience, rather than positioning everything in terms of price.

    Shopping centres are also increasing their use of food as a draw – it’s not new, but the scale and its importance is changing. Developers have always set aside space for catering operations, but now they are seen as a key part of the strategy. Look at Westfield’s Market Place (in Stratford, Sydney and beyond) and how it enhances the destination experience that a shopping centre provides. The space allocated to food is growing. Where once it may have been 10% in the UK, Land Securities allowed up to 20% of its recent redevelopment of Trinity Leeds to be taken by restaurants, cafés or bars. This seems to be a glimpse into the future, though interestingly it is the norm in other parts of the world, especially Asia.

    The re-allocation of space can be seen in a number of ways: trying to slow the customer down and create that total brand experience or gaining footfall lost to online shopping. While using cafés and restaurants to attract shoppers is not new, these spaces are becoming increasingly vital for retailers and brands looking to enliven the physical shopping experience. Of all the arguments, the aim to slow the customer down is the most compelling; as the internet speeds things up, there is the opportunity to fill some of that newly found free time…. Let’s give people new, sociable reasons to visit retail spaces.

  6. London: recent store openings


    We’re just over halfway through 
the year and already London’s new openings are creating a buzz around town. While we've seen established retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Selfridges continue to reinforce their commercial proposition, the likes of H&M's & Other Stories and the ultra cool LN-CC have displayed bespoke and intimate in-store experiences, defining their unique positions within the market.

    Download our ten highlights. (8.9 MB)

  7. Toy Story meets The Shining


    Illustrator Kyle Lambert’s mash-up of Toy Story and the Shining. You won’t be able to watch either film in the same way again.