Published 07 March 2024

Authors
Marta Mąkolska
15 min read

The first of our quarterly store design trends round-ups for 2024 straddles the globe, spotlighting fresh physical retail inspiration from Seoul to Mexico City. Key themes include brutalist biophilia, gastronomical design premiumising consumers’ caffeine fix, ultra-maisons, theatres for the senses, slower living social clubs, elevated aftercare, DIY microtecture and the continued rise of retail salons.

Brutalist Biophilia

Gastro-Designs Premiumising the Daily Caffeine Fix

Ultra-Maisons

Theatres for the Senses

Slower Living In-Store Social Clubs

Elevated Aftercare

DIY Microtecture

The Rise of Retail Salons

Familial, Familiar & Semi-Fictionalised

Nature remains top of mind in categories as diverse as outdoor apparel, streetwear and beauty – but with monolithic structures superseding the previous softer versions of biophilia. These raw, rugged homages to planet Earth, some of which reference the origins of key ingredients, are evocative of unchanged ancient landscapes, providing urban environments with a powerful sense of serenity.

Nature remains top of mind in categories as diverse as outdoor apparel, streetwear and beauty – but with monolithic structures superseding the previous softer versions of biophilia. These raw, rugged homages to planet Earth, some of which reference the origins of key ingredients, are evocative of unchanged ancient landscapes, providing urban environments with a powerful sense of serenity.

Summary

Brutalist Biophilia

Nature remains top of mind in categories as diverse as outdoor apparel, streetwear and beauty – but with monolithic structures superseding the previous softer versions of biophilia. These raw, rugged homages to planet Earth, some of which reference the origins of key ingredients, are evocative of unchanged ancient landscapes, providing urban environments with a powerful sense of serenity.

Gastro-Designs Premiumising the Daily Caffeine Fix

Several brands, notably many with a substantial and storied heritage, have upped the ante on in-store cafés via imaginative environments, rethinking the parameters (and level of elevation) of the daily coffee and tea fix. Chocolate consumption, too, is taken to new, deluxe heights.

Ultra-Maisons

The premise of a brand’s maison as the ultimate expression of brand personality also returns this quarter, albeit in differing guises – from a luxury domicile to an inner-city hyper-creative supermart.

Theatres for the Senses

Amplifying sensory engagement in physical spaces continues to fuel seductive new spatial design, with tea and fragrance companies drawing on increasing levels of theatricality to elevate their olfactory and taste-led brand DNAs. Privacy and a sense of revelation play a notable role in the staging of the best.

Slower Living In-Store Social Clubs

Other new brand designs emphasise social engagement – but without the strong educational stance taken in previous community-centric flagship concepts – to cement a sense of local, slower-paced conviviality, based on simply spending more time convening. Think in-store chill-out zones, listening-room-esque spaces and meandering café courtyards.

Elevated Aftercare

Channelling consumers’ rising interest in product longevity, as part of the shift to Asset Culture Commerce (see Look Ahead 2024) and pushback against obsolescence (see Eco Comms: Autumn/Winter 2023), new aftercare concepts – either integrated into the main store (see Merging the New & The Renewed in Circular Economy Concept Stores) or as separate spaces – emerge this season.

DIY Microtecture

Reasserting the credibility of 3D printing for store design, two agile brands have deployed it to imaginatively tailor-make store interiors for compact venues. Sustainable materials, such as mycelium and biodegradable cellulose, underpin the designs.

The Rise of Retail Salons

Building on The Rise of the Spa Store trend, identified in Global Store Openings: Winter 2023, a small wave of beauty stores have coupled shopping and self-care, offering customers urban respite while testing out new products. See also Wellness-Centred Retail.

Familial, Familiar & Semi-Fictionalised

Leaning heavily into the pull of nostalgia, a new wave of openings shows a keen appetite for cultural storytelling, in many cases specifically the stories of those whose families are part of a diaspora. Domesticity-inspired ultra-personal spaces – anchored in real or fictionalised families – offer a rich and original seam of thinking around the power of familiarity and home.

Global Store Openings Design Trends Round-Up: Vol 1, March 2024

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