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Stores we love – May

This month’s release is a local edition, featuring new openings from high profile brands in and around London, from the launch of impressive flagship stores to modest pop-ups that present new thinking. Take a look at our pick…

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© WGSN Limited

Zara – Oxford Street, London

On the eastern side of Oxford Street, towards our Primark flagship at Tottenham Court Road, Zara has opened a 48,000sqft ‘Soho Flagship’ that spans four floors. The impressive concrete and glass store marks the fifth outpost for the Spanish fashion giant, and moves them towards a much more sustainable future with energy consumption down 30% compared to conventional stores.

What we love:
The interior is in keeping with the original building structure, playing on the minimal industrial feel through exposed ceilings, brushed concrete walls and black metal lights. Our favourite store feature is the cash desk area, where large screens playing campaign videos act as the backdrop to the black gloss and steel counters, creating a striking impression on store visitors.

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Apple Watch x Selfridges – Oxford Street, London

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch opened on April 10th and within minutes the watch had sold out for launch day delivery. Even though Selfridges does not sell the Apple Watch, it opened an Apple Watch service shop inside its hallowed halls where consumers can get advice on models and features from helpful staff or try on different models to aid the online shopping decision later on. Customers can also schedule a try-on appointment with an Apple specialist.

What we love:
The pop-up concept is refreshingly green and experimental compared to the rigid, clean design language of traditional Apple stores. It’s apparent that Apple is speaking to a more fashion-focused clientele and sees the Apple Watch not only as a piece of new technology, but as a fashion item.

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© Club Monaco

Club Monaco – Chiltern Street, London

After its first opening in Shoreditch in 2014, Club Monaco has unveiled its second Men’s store in London on Chiltern Street, West London. The beautifully designed store offers a warm shopping environment with conveniently curated products for the style-focused man. The retailer brings fashion and culture in-store to reflect and enhance modern life with Fashion, Home, Books, Hospitality and Cultivation.

What we love:
The brand does ‘local’ very well, confidently connecting store design with the local neighbourhood. An example of this is the Victorian shopfront, which has been restored by local craftsmen. On the garden level, customers are offered Made in America whisky in a beautifully designed open kitchen environment that enhances the store experience

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Illuminum – Dover Street, London

Italian architect Antonio Cardillo has created an immersive multi-sensory space for fragrance brand Illuminum. The room, situated in an old London building, is covered with volcanic ash – a building material largely used in ancient Rome. The floor is covered in soft grey carpet, adding another layer of texture to the space. The fragrances are not displayed in bottles, but as an installation called ‘Scent Suspended,’ which consists of 37 irregular, hand-blown glass containers suspended from the ceiling in different lengths. Visitors are invited to explore their own personal journey among the invisible and concealed odorous areas. The space is open until September.

What we love:
Illuminum offers a new experience for shopping perfume. Scents are presented in an exciting way that transforms the purchase journey into an effortless, relaxed experience, where visitors are invited to create their own narrative through the space. Fragrances can be bought from an assistant carrying a tablet, eliminating the cashier desk and turning the space into an exciting multi-sensory zone far away from the conventional perfume shop.

Take a look at our favourite beauty products and in-store experiences using the hashtag #DandPLovesBeauty.

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© H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB

H&M’s Conscious pop-up – Oxford Street, London

H&M has created a ‘ Conscious Capsule Space’ pop-up in its London flagship store to remind customers of the brand’s efforts to create sustainable fashion alternatives available to everyone. The interior is minimal, using a palette of white, green and pale wood to keep the ethically conscious message in the foreground. Visitor interaction is incorporated through touchscreens, a video wall and a ‘selfie’ booth, which encourages customers to share pictures via social media using #Hmclosetheloop for a chance to win a prize.

What we love:
The installation was designed with the caption ‘close the loop’ in mind, taking the customer on a journey from the raw materials to the final recycled product. Each step of the ‘loop’ is explained, giving the visitor insight into H&M’s sustainable production cycle.

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© Lush Retail Ltd.

Lush – Oxford Street, London

At the end of April, the ethical cosmetics brand Lush opened its largest store to date. The shopping area spans over three floors and displays over 200 newly launched products unique to the store. The new Oxford Street flagship also hosts a ‘Lush Spa’ with four treatment areas as well as a ‘Hair Lab’ where products can be tried and tested before purchase. Like many of its stores, Lush plans to host parties and DIY cosmetic workshops here as well as lessons on product use and skincare.

What we love:
Lush enhances the shopping experience through its spa and hair lab services, allowing customers to test its products without the commitment of making a purchase. The space provides relaxing moments amid the Oxford Street bustle.

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Chuck Taylor Studio – Carnaby Street, London

Converse has embraced the power of customer personalisation, incorporating ‘Design Your Own’ stations into its flagship stores for a number of years. This month saw the brand build upon its customisation service and champion ‘customer x brand’ storytelling with its temporary “Made by you” studio on London’s Carnaby Street. Running until the May 31st, customers can personalise their favourite Chucks, capture their own ‘Chucks Self Portrait’ in the Chuck Booth, and share via social media. Visitors are also offered freshly pressed juices courtesy of London juicery Roots and Bulbs, and a £10 Converse voucher to be redeemed at a nearby retailer.

What we love:
The London pop-up celebrates customer creativity and self-expression, encouraging wearers to share “experiences marked on all of our Chuck Taylor All Stars”. One of our designers, who happened to be wearing her Converse, recently visited the space and left thoroughly impressed by the level of staff knowledge and the pop-up’s relaxed hang-out vibe, declaring it “a must-see for any Converse wearer”.


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