From Woolrich’s experiential new outlet to the ultimate lifestyle statement from Muji, Spar’s elevated convenience offer Eat17, and KM20’s low-fi designer boutique in Moscow, these are the new openings to know now. Plus Spanish fashion brand Mango has announced it will be bringing digital mirrors to its flagship stores – will it be the first high street store to get them right?
Convenience store Spar ups its game with this new high-end food proposition, Eat17, in Bishop’s Stortford.
What we love
It’s mastered the deli/convenience /restaurant hybrid experience. With a host of premium wines and award-winning food, it feels more akin to an upmarket New York deli than your local cornershop. A restaurant selling healthy and delicious food is positioned at the front of the store to entice people inside.
The farmers market-inspired interior. Hanging plants, weathered wood and Victorian metro tiles, this store evokes the look of a bygone grocer and oozes nostalgia. It feels considered and chimes with that ‘authentic’ aesthetic millennials so appreciate.
The location. Set in the commuter town of Bishop’s Stortford, this is Eat17’s first outpost outside London. It’s good to see this offer extending beyond the London bubble, albeit to a commuter town, but still, it’s a move in the right direction. We’re looking forward to the concept being rolled out to other towns across the UK.
Outerwear brand Woolrich makes a case for experiential retail with its new Milan store.
What we love
The sensory experience. The store comes complete with an immersive extreme weather room, so customers can put the brand’s famous Arctic Parka to the test. The ‘freezer’, designed by Japanese agency Wonderwall, is constructed from temperature-maintaining four-fold glass and each night a cooling cycle produces a new layer of artificial snow. Finishing off the experience is a stunning video of sub-zero landscapes to properly set the scene.
The gallery-like interior. The store has a white box-inspired interior that’s lined with greyscale photographs of models in signature Woolrich garms, and at the centre, an installation is created from four of the brand’s iconic parkas that are raised above the ground on sleek plinths.
The outside-inside touches. Softening the streamlined white rooms are an abundance of lush green plants and there’s also a walled courtyard garden – a perfect place to thaw out after visiting the extreme weather room.
Muji, the Japanese brand synonymous with all things minimalist and tasteful has opened its own hotel in Shenzhen China.
What we love
It’s the ultimate lifestyle destination. The hotel is designed to be the ultimate physical experience of the Muji brand, “Through the texture of the towels, the placement of outlets and light switches, menu and venue of the restaurant, and more,” says Creative Director, Kenya Hara. More importantly, it gives customers the chance to feel that they are truly a part of the Muji club. This hotel cements the brand’s transformation from ‘store’ into ‘lifestyle’.
The ‘anti-gorgeous and anti-cheap’ concept. This self-described concept sums up Muji’s aesthetic. Everything is perfectly placed and the epitome of understated luxury. The hotel comes complete with a gym, a restaurant called ‘Muji Diner’ and a library that’s stocked with over 650 books and open 24hours a day.
To finish with a quote from Hara, “A lot of people think that Muji’s products are very simple, cutting out the heavy decoration and the flamboyant things, but minimalism and simplicity are not Muji’s only features. Muji is always changing and Muji is a huge question I think. Muji is not a trend.” With that being said, the only thing to do is watch this space.
A luxury store with a difference, Moscow boutique KM20 is more low-fi than glitz.
What we love
The rugged interior. Rather than polished finishes, sleek lights and plush fabrics this store’s aesthetic is defined by its concrete floors, raw wooden structures and stripped-back walls.
The bespoke installations. Heron Preston, Off-White and Gosha Rubchinskiy have all designed installations specifically for the space, instantly lending it a point of difference from other boutiques and ensuring it’s a destination in its own right.
It’s perfect for events. A sprawling garage underground and vast terrace on the roof – complete with luxury restaurant and beautiful views – make the store an ideal place to hold parties, product launches and press days.
Many brands have attempted to incorporate digital mirrors into their store offers, however, Mango’s initiative in collaboration with Vodafone seems like a more robust proposition.
What we love
It attempts to solve customer pain points. The mirrors are placed in fitting rooms where customers can request different sizes and colours of the items they’re trying on the mirror’s interactive screen. The items synch to the mirrors via RFID (radio frequency) tags and store assistants receive the customer’s requests in real time on digital watches that connect to the mirrors. A speedy and stress-free way to get what the customer needs to them seamlessly.
It could be the first step to a retail transformation. This is a positive move towards Mango becoming a truly omnichannel retailer. It should be a completely new way for customers to engage with and relate to the brand. Mango’s chief client officer Guillermo Corominas said, “This is a really exciting project for Mango. We see the future of retailing as a blend of the online and the offline.”
As work-life balance becomes a priority for many employees, expectations of the workplace have risen. Design Director Richard Bennett explores how brands can use their workspace to boost their brand experience.
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