We spotlight Rag & Bone’s new London flagship, cult Dutch brand Groos’s relaunched boutique, Shepherd Neame’s foray into retail, indoor cycling company Let’s Ride’s Parisian studio and we discuss the rise of retail’s urban jungle trend.
Britain’s oldest brewer of beer, Shepherd Neame, has made the unusual move into direct-to-consumer retail with a pop-up store in Bluewater mall Kent.
What we love
It’s a bold way to launch a new product. The main reason behind the pop-up is to introduce the brand’s new premium five grain lager, Cinque, and the brand’s first ever cider, Orchard View, to the market. The only store of its kind in Bluewater, it’s a great form of marketing, earning the products instant press and consumer interest. Long gone are the days of promo girls and sampling, moving into bricks and mortar spaces is a more robust way for the brand to connect to its consumers and gives them a defined purpose.
It skips the middle man. This pop-up gives Shepherd Neame the unique opportunity to raise its profile and educate customers on the brand’s brewing process, history and products. Being situated in Bluewater also enables it to reach a wide variety of people, some of whom may not have heard of Shepherd Neame previously.
The use of digital. As part of the store’s mission to educate, an innovative virtual reality video that transports customers to the heart of Shepherd Neame’s hop farm and guides them through the beer crafting process. It’s a brilliant way to engage customers, creating a memorable experience and educating them about the brand.
Groos, the influential Rotterdam-based concept store has just moved to new premises in the town’s historic Industriegebouw building that houses tech start-ups, retailers and restaurants.
What we love
The use of space. Groos have really maximised the 300sqm space available to them with a clever floor-to-ceiling shelving unit that holds multiple accessories and household objects, plus the grid-like lines perfectly frame the items on sale. They have also made use of the high ceilings by building a mezzanine level that’s connected by a striking black iron staircase.
The millennial palette. Pink and green have become synonymous with millennial style but Groos’s use of the two colours is sharp, considered and grown up. The standout pink wall and green oversized plant pop perfectly against the mostly crisp white interior and aren’t overbearing at all.
The local vibe. Although Groos offer an edit of high-end international brands, they also sell a wide range of local designers’ products, from furniture to small gifts and artworks – displayed on the pink wall. The store was also designed in collaboration with local architects MVRDV.
French indoor cycling (or spinning) brand Let’s Ride has opened a new studio in Paris, cleverly refreshing an old factory with a light, minimalist and modern design.
What we love
The juxtaposition of old and new. In the changing rooms and lobby the original Eiffel Tower-style columns needed to be kept in place. Rather than trying to disguise them, the brand chose to rub them down and expose the rugged wrought iron texture – perfectly contrasting against the slick white interior.
The fashion-led interior. Let’s Ride has done a really good job of making a space with a low ceiling and distinct lack of windows feel spacious and filled with light. Clever positioning of mirrors reflects light from outside and slender LED strips across the ceiling lend it a feeling of height. Rather than having the high-energy, sweat-box feel of typical gyms, it exudes calm and tranquillity that’s more akin to a fashion store. It’s good to see fashion and leisure becoming more connected.
The ultra-luxe details. Peppering the white-box space is an abundance of gleaming gold. From the signage to the pipes and even the hairdryer holders, gold provides the main accent colour, creating an effortlessly luxe finish that contrasts perfectly against the brushed concrete floor and industrial ceilings.
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone, the label known for epitomising downtown New York cool, brought its unique aesthetic to Soho with a new Beak Street store.
What we love
The Bespoke Design. The brand has taken great care to respect the building’s original Victorian architecture, and the shop is filled with custom-made merchandising units and antique furniture. Furthermore, there is hand-painted mural by Stanley Donwood, that pays homage to the London skyline and provides a unique focal point to the stairways
It stays true to the brand’s aesthetic. Despite the design being influenced and respectful of the store’s building and location, there’s no denying that this is a Rag & Bone store. Details like the sleek columns echo the Loft spaces of the brand’s native Manhattan and areas like the denim bar with it steel frame and walnut top reflect the offhand vibe of the clothing. The brand’s CEO, Marcus Wainwright says ‘Just like our leather and denim, we’re building things that will only get better with age’.
The slowed down shopping journey. On entering the store, customers are offered an alcoholic beverage of their choice to enjoy why browsing or sitting in one of the many lounge areas and flip though a magazine or book. Slowing down the shopping journey in this way creates a relaxed environment that’s more about the experience than it is pushing sales. If you do want to buy, there are knowledgeable, attentive and friendly staff on hand to help and offer advice.
Spotlight on the urban jungle
From the beach trees that loom over the screens at Apple’s Regent Street hub to the petite succulents peppered throughout niche boutiques, plants are no longer restricted to the garden centre.
Spurred by millennials’ love of mid-century kitsch and lack of outside space, indoor plants have made an interior decorating comeback that’s spilling into retail design. Where concept stores might have once had a sparse white box-inspired interior, they are now being enlivened with hanging geraniums and spiky cacti. The hashtag #plantsonpink brings greenery and the ‘it’ hue together in one trendy space on social media.
Who we love
Conservatory Archives is design agency that brings the urban jungle to some of the best stores, restaurants and companies in London – from our client Lululemon, to Cos and even the BBC. We think its aesthetic – untamed, lush, green – typifies the zeitgeist.
With the stores like the Cactus Store causing a stir with its New York opening and murmurs that we’re on the cusp of a garden centre online revolution, it looks like consumers love of plants is only going to grow.