In a demonstration of ground-breaking retail design, Polish footwear e-commerce giant Eobuwie.pl has blended online and offline within its new physical store in Zielona Gora, western Poland.
The store has no product on the shop floor and is divided into three sections. At the front, shoppers use interactive touchscreen tablets to search for and order items. In the middle section, dominated by seating, they can relax and try on shoes. The rear section comprises the huge stock room containing 110,000 shoe boxes, with each ordered box sliding down through the racking to create an element of theatre.
Designed by British agency Dalziel & Pow, the store features eye-level screens around the entire space, playing rolling content that showcases the wide selection of footwear – some 40,000 styles.
David Dalziel, the design agency’s creative director, said: “This ambitious and challenging concept blends the convenience of online shopping with the fast fulfilment of bricks-and-mortar, setting a new standard for high street footwear retailing.”
Since 2016, Eobuwie.pl has belonged to CCC S.A, the largest footwear retail company in Central Europe and the biggest footwear manufacturer in Europe.
For more ideas around the subject of versatile – or ‘liquid’ – retail, see our report Beta Blends: Dexterous Store Design.
Japanese architect and designer Kengo Kuma’s latest work of art, titled Breath/ng, is an impressive fabric sculpture that can absorb the emissions of 90,000 cars per year.
Created for Milan Design Week 2018, the origami-like hanging structure is made from 120 hand-folded panels of an innovative air-purifying fabric that captures pollution in the air, cleans the particles, and generates clean air.
The multi-layered fabric, called The Breath, was developed by Italian start-up Anemotech. It contains a molecule-activated core that separates and absorbs large amounts of toxic pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides from the surrounding environment. Anemotech asserts that the material has numerous applications in both indoor and outdoor spaces, and it has already been used to make advertising billboards for highly polluted urban areas.
Kuma’s 6m-tall sculpture uses 175 sq m of the fabric, and is constructed using 46 unique 3D-printed joints. The installation was conceived in collaboration with French 3D-modelling company Dassault Systèmes, whose software was used to design the piece.
The project taps into growing global concerns about pollution and its negative impact on both the environment and consumers’ health. A number of future-facing designers and scientists are looking to address the problem by creating toxin-absorbing materials. See the Reducing Pollution section in Considered Environment to discover a number of solutions with real-world applications, such as air-purifying cement.
Designers, architects and city planners should seek to incorporate such pollution-busting materials into urban spaces – both indoors and outdoors – in order to create healthier environments for consumers. See also Carbon-Negative Building Material Made of CO2.
Pioneering food and beverage brands are looking to waste and sustainability as an opportunity for savvy product development. The beer market is a key sector in this space, with companies tweaking production methods and harvesting surplus and 'waste' ingredients from unexpected places. Here, we round up the latest examples.
London's luxury department store Harrods has reopened its wine and spirit rooms as part of the store's ongoing refurbishment. Aiming to entice alcohol connoisseurs, the art deco-inspired space features immersive exploration-based installations, interconnected rooms and VIP shopping services providing in-depth product information.
Situated on the lower-ground floor, the space spreads across 8,000 sq ft and is focused on flavour exploration rather than the specific categories and brands. At so-called 'aroma tables', consumers can smell various scents found in wine, such as apricots or coffee beans. Copper trumpets deliver the smells with the squeeze of a rubber bulb – similar to old-fashioned perfume flacons.
VIP consumers are encouraged to book wine tastings in a private suite for an extra charge of between £100 to £160 ($135 to $217). These are accompanied by live streams from wineries around the world, allowing visitors to see where products come from and how they're made. See also Intimate, Democratic and Inclusive.
An Education Room offers personalised bottle engraving and bespoke cellar plan consultations for those looking to build or expand collections at home.
Designed by renowned London/NYC-based Martin Brudnizki Studio, the opulent 1920s-style interiors boast marble patterned floors and limed-oak timber wall panelling and shelving.
The global luxury wines and spirits market is expected to reach $1.1tn by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2016 (Allied Market Research, 2017).
Dutch vodka brand Ketel One has teamed up with London bar No 29 Power Station West to launch the city's first clean-air bar. The space was designed to help Londoners escape from city pollution, and learn how house plants can improve living standards.
The bar is filled with plants that Nasa has found to be effective at removing toxins from the air, including aloe vera, weeping fig, rubber plants and Boston fern. All plants have been supplied by local London urban farm Patch.
Customers can choose from a range of Ketel One cocktails, with ingredients such as basil, mint and rosemary picked from a "living garnish wall". They can also customise the drinks to suit their tastes.
Meanwhile, food comes courtesy of UK chef duo Billy and Jack. Dishes are made from locally sourced sustainable ingredients, such as vodka-cured sea trout with smoked mayo and house pickles, and lamb skewers with labneh, dukkah, spiced date sauce, charred spring onion and spring leaves.
The bar will also host two urban gardening workshops by Patch in late May.
This is the latest example of brands catering for urban-dwelling consumers who are concerned about rising levels of pollution. See New Architecture of Taste (part of our latest Industry Trend The Future of Flavour), Pollution-Fighting Health Drink and Pollution Protection Update: New Formats & Formulas for further case studies.
The eight shaving creams in Marram Co’s inaugural collection all use different notes to alter the user’s state of mind in different ways. For instance, Time Out is aimed at men looking to unwind. It claims to reduce stress while cleansing, detoxifying and brightening tired skin. The brand harnesses the sensory properties of essential oils, using ingredients such as basil, thyme and cardamom to enhance relaxation.
Essential oils are a growing market, forecast to reach $12.85bn globally by 2025 (Statistics MRC, 2017). We believe aromatherapy is a key area for brands to explore, as consumers look to improve their mood and mental state with scent. Another good example is American tween start-up Scent Republik, which uses vanilla and mandarin in its Fab! fragrance to boost feelings of empowerment.
With each of Marram Co’s shaving creams evoking a distinct olfactory experience, consumers are encouraged to experiment with the scents depending on their mood. For more on this idea, see The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes and St Giles: Personality-Enhancing Perfume.
With a tagline of “bringing pleasure to shaving”, the brand operates on a subscription basis. Each kit, containing a shaving cream of choice, is delivered every four, six or eight weeks, depending on how frequently the recipient shaves and uses up the product. For more on this concept, see Luxurifying Personal Hygiene.
Burger King Spain gave consumers the opportunity to build their perfect burger order by using the interactivity tools in Instagram Stories – a feature that lets Instagram users post a series of videos and photos that vanish after 24hrs.
The brand stacked nine Stories – one each per classic ingredient – into its Instagram feed. As fans swiped through them, they could use polling widgets on each 15-second clip to choose their favourite toppings. Once they'd completed the clips, each user received an automatically generated coupon through Instagram's direct messaging system that they could exchange for their personalised burger in store.
Created by Madrid-based ad agency Lola MullenLowe, the 24-hour activation – dubbed Stories Ordering – generated almost 35,000 coupons in under three hours. Burger King also took the data from all of the interactions to surface the most popular burger, with the resulting InstaWhopper then made available across Spain for a limited time.
Instagram claims 80% of its users follow at least one brand account (Instagram, 2017), and the Facebook-owned platform's ad revenue is expected to hit $6.8bn by the end of 2018 (Statista, 2018). As Facebook cranks up the monetisation of its apps, interactive ad formats that reward users' attention in exchange for disrupting their experience of organic content will be vital for brands to sustain consumer goodwill.
US prescription app Medly's first brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, NYC, aims to entice time-strapped New Yorkers with omnichannel retailing in a calm and relaxing setting.
Launched in 2017, the brand has already been redefining the traditional pharmacy retail experience (long queues, unpredictable inventory, rushed service, lack of personalisation) with its app. Users can manage and fill prescriptions without leaving home, pick the packaging of their choice, and have their order delivered the same day anywhere in the city. This additional physical touchpoint now enables them to collect prescriptions in-store, and book face-to-face consultations with pharmacists.
Challenging the often anonymous and uninviting aesthetic associated with pharmacy design, the 1,900 sq ft space boasts a visually distinctive pale aqua interior, featuring geometric pill-shape-patterned flooring and minimalist display shelving – all designed by NYC interiors firm Sergio Mannino Studio.
Dark green leather chairs (inspired by 80s Japanese designer Shira Kuramata) are positioned in the middle of the store, inviting users to relax and socialise while waiting for their orders to be fulfilled behind a marble countertop.
Tapping the rise in demand for eco-friendly personal care and fitness-inspired beauty products, US start-up Type: A’s natural deodorant range targets active consumers.
With a tagline of “the more you sweat, the harder it works”, the smart deodorant features aloe vera, coconut oil and arrowroot powder sourced from California to absorb moisture and hydrate the skin. The sweat-activated formula mimics a time-released effect that fights off bacteria, as safe synthetics such as glycerine are used to channel the aluminium-free, antiperspirant ingredients.
The unisex range consists of two cream-based deodorants. The Visionary combines citrus and herbal notes and The Minimalist is 100% fragrance- and essential oil-free. Both products are housed in a tube, which is perforated by three holes to let the formula through.
Wearers are encouraged to swipe on a pea-sized amount of the lightweight formula onto dry armpits like a stick. This is a key selling point for the brand, as most of the natural deodorants on the market have to be applied using consumers’ fingertips.
The launch signals an uptick in natural and organic product innovation in an untapped category – only 25% of US consumers purchase natural deodorant (Mintel, 2017). We believe this market has not been explored properly, as many natural deodorant formulas are not effective enough to combat excessive sweat.
For more on strategies that target the active community in other categories, see Elevating Active and Millennial Fitness Update: Tech Tones Up. Also look out for Stylus’ report Sports Beauty Steps Up for the latest developments.
As part of Milan Design Week 2018 (April 17-22), Milan-based designers Dimore Studio created an exhibition dedicated to classic 20th-century design. The theme ties in with a growing appreciation of cultural heritage, history and age-old character, as explored in our latest design direction Hands of Time from our S/S 2020 Colour Spectrum.
Entitled Transfer, a series of interior-styled installations took visitors on an emotive journey through different cultural and historical atmospheres. The eclectic room sets were housed in fabric tents and filled with pieces from the designers’ historical collections, as well as intimate objects and personal belongings. Visitors could navigate around the tents and peer through openings and makeshift windows at the curated displays inside.
Each room conveyed a different world – including the Silk Road traveller, the séance room, an Italian camping scene, the French Riviera and an Arab harem – and was accompanied by a distinctive scent and soundtrack. Meanwhile, two additional display rooms imagined the cultivated archives of a collector, while showcasing the studio’s best archive furniture pieces.
See our complete coverage of Milan Design Week 2018 for key trends across colour, materials, branded environments, lifestyle and product design.
Echoing the rise of stores as brand playgrounds, Canadian e-commerce fashion platform Ssense has opened an explorative bricks-and-mortar flagship in Montreal’s Old Town. Unveiled in May, the five-storey, 13,000 sq ft space blends online shopping with gallery-like installations to entertain today’s plugged-in consumer.
Guests pre-select items to try on from more than 20,000 pieces available on Ssense’s website, and select an appointment time. In less than 24 hours, the garments are ready and waiting for them in one of the dressing rooms that occupy the entire third and fourth floors.
Customers who haven’t pre-booked items can browse a limited selection of frequently refreshed clothing on the first floor, as well as special designer/artist collaborations on the second floor, which is also used as a performance space. Ssense commissioned a piece from Venezuelan performance artist Arca for the store’s opening. The fifth floor houses a small bookstore stocked with art publications and a café serving coffee and snacks.
London firm David Chipperfield Architects designed the interior, which updates a narrow 19th century building with a brutalist aesthetic. Minimal decoration on dark grey stone walls creates a distraction-free shopping environment.
For more on digitally led shopping and brand showcasing, see Nordstrom’s Service-Only Store, Destination Teen: Targeting Youth, Depop’s Hybrid Store and Beta Blends in our Industry Trend Liquid Retail.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have invented a glove-like device called Dormio that helps users augment their creativity while they sleep.
Before falling asleep completely, humans go through an intermediate state between wakefulness and sleep called hypnagogia. While in this hypnagogic state, people lose the frontal function of their brains, which means they lose their sense of time and space and their thoughts become intuitive and hyper-associative. During this state, human creativity is unleashed, as it's not constrained by the logic and rules of waking life.
According to Dormio's website, artists and scientists such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Salvador Dali have taken advantage of the creativity offered during hypnagogia by holding a steel ball that would fall when they fell asleep – waking them up and allowing them to write down the ideas generated during this semi-lucid state.
Dormio modernises this technique, but instead of waking up the user, it simply prevents them from falling asleep completely. Sensors in the glove-like device track the user's hypnagogic state by measuring heart rate and muscle tone. When Dormio senses the user is transitioning into the deeper stages of sleep, its accompanying app emits sounds via the user's smartphone. This way, it suspends the user in an extended hypnagogic state, allowing them to access their subconscious for longer.
The device's creators plan to upgrade the device so that it can influence the content of the user's dreams and extract information from them, potentially enabling people to interact with their subconscious. See also Shadow Selves: Tapping Consumers' Dark Sides.
Dubbed the BrewDog Chain Gang, cycling and beer enthusiasts around the world can join rides operating from their local BrewDog bar or affiliated pub, with the Strava app acting as an information hub for the times and locations of upcoming events.
Alongside this, the craft beer company has collaborated with London-based cycling apparel brand Milltag to create a line of BrewDog-branded cycling clothing and kit, including jerseys, bottles and jackets.
According to BrewDog's co-founder James Watt: "There has always been a natural crossover between craft beer fans and cycling fans. Both are driven by a passion for exploration, discovering the road less travelled, and are powered by hugely passionate communities. With BrewDog Chain Gang, we wanted to turn it up a gear by helping our community unite their two passions of beer and bikes."
This is a key example of how big brands are tapping into the active space to access cult communities, as discussed in our latest Macro Trend report 360 Sports Nutrition.
See also Protest Beer for Climate Change and Epicurean Escapism: The Foodie Traveller Opportunity for more on how BrewDog is extending its offering. See Brand Stretch: Elastic Food & Drink Development for a look at how brands are expanding beyond their original product and service remit.
Influential art fair Frieze (May 4-6) filled a series of expansive tents on New York’s Randall’s Island with contemporary works showcased by global galleries. We highlight the prominent themes and standout works.
Packaging trade show Luxe Pack New York returns on May 16 and 17 to reveal how brands can utilise new materials and manufacturing processes. Talks will explore the potential of marketing packaging on social media, the increasing demand for sustainable materials, and how to create designs that connect with consumers’ senses.
Ahead of the event, we highlight two brands that exhibit how sensory-focused packaging encourages personal and physical product experiences.
Virospack, a Spanish manufacturer of cosmetic and pharmaceutical dropper bottles, has created a finish called Tactile Print for the surface of cosmetic bottles. The 3D effect offers a visual sense of depth and encourages consumers to pause and touch the product.
The decoration can also be used to add braille typography to existing packaging, allowing consumers of mixed abilities to understand and engage with the product. See also Push for Inclusive Typography and Packaging Futures: Diversity.
Similarly, Taiwanese fragrance packaging company Glaspray’s new Hybrid Qex spray bottle features a machine-engraved surface design on the glass bottle’s outer “shell”. The design is available in three effects: Brushed, coarse Diamond, and smooth indented Carbon Fiber.
The shell fits around an inner liquid cartridge, allowing users to refill their fragrance and switch between exterior surfaces. The design is geared towards the high-end market and caters to luxury consumers seeking products with sustainable credentials. For more, see Luxury Design Recalibrated.
Dewi Pinatih, Stylus’ senior editor of Product Design, will be presenting our A/W 19/20 Design Directions at Luxe Pack New York. Look out for our full coverage of the event, publishing May 28.