Shopping is so much more than what you take home in your bag at the end of the long….long ….sometimes really long day. It’s become an enchanting experience as each shop develops more ways of making you linger for longer, increasing the temptation for you to pull out that purse and purchase. If you’re looking to experience the most up to date shopping encounter, you’ll probably find it in the well known shopping districts of the major cities and more than likely in the flagship stores. Flagships lead the way for the rest of the company’s stores across the country, they have the largest range and volume of stock and any innovative or new interior branding will start here. Flagship designer stores often employ some of the most well know and highly acclaimed architects and interior designers around, creating not just a store but a piece of art.
Prada employed architect legend Rem Koolhaas to design their minimalist grand scale store in New York and Eva Juricna’s glass staircase was the sole reason many visited the Joseph London store in the 90’s. Zaha Hadid recently completed the Neil Barrett Flagship in Tokyo. Relying heavily on a concept based on the cut of the fashion including folds, pleats and cut outs. As a result it resembles a sculpture exhibition incorporating clothes making the customers think as much about the space as they do about the product. Different? Yes. Cool? Certainly.
Chanel store, New York, has a different approach. Firstly, shopping in this store is pretty cool anyway. What makes the design stand out is the concept employed to create it. The architect Peter Marino took inspiration from the iconic Coco Chanel’s own apartment such as using red sliding doors to cover up certain merchandise to make it appear a hidden secret, therefore more unique and desirable. All edges of the interior are black, just like the recognisable No. 5 bottle, and arranged in a way that at night the shop lights up in the shape of a perfume bottle.
Naked, a high street fashion clothes store aimed at the young and trendy, is an example of contemporary store design. Situated in the heart of Istanbul it’s intended to be controversial, starting with the name and continuing with the design. With its black polished plaster walls it’s far removed from the art gallery-esque, blank canvas, and minimalist look that has been so popular in recent years. Containing abstract mannequins, which are posed and used in unorthodox ways by being, of course, free from any clothes – Naked! It has a feeling that emanates a nightclub with the dramatic spotlights sweeping across the dynamic forms and sculptures, giving the interior a sense of vibrant energy and movement. The brand is integrated into the architecture via the name being depicted across the ceiling by a stainless steel and copper rod structure. This store is not just selling clothes but a lifestyle, by carrying round a bag from there a customer is demonstrating they’re fashionable, young, exciting and cool.
The new HMV Merry Hill Centre, earnt great recognition in 2008 for being a store that aims to bring together the digital and physical worlds. The emphasis on the whole store is technology. This is apparent from the plasma scene replacing the store window, to the ‘social hub’ zones containing metal and glass Apple iMacs for customer use. Here, with friends, they can use free internet to search music and film sites while enjoying a smoothie from the integrated juice bar. In the digital kiosks they can listen to and download music, in fact the entire stores ethos is ‘get closer’, to the music to the films and to the technology. For easy navigation the different departments use different materials and colours to distinguish themselves. The store sounds like a place to go on a day out, rather than to shop, but it is being suggested as the inspiration for many more hands on stores to come.