CONRAN AND PARTNERS’ RETAIL CONCEPT IN THE RUNNING FOR PRESTIGIOUS DESIGN AWARD!

CONRAN AND PARTNERS’ RETAIL CONCEPT IN THE RUNNING FOR PRESTIGIOUS DESIGN AWARD!

The Design Week Awards 2016 shortlist has been revealed and we are pleased to announce our home store design has made the cut. Up against stiff competition, ‘The Life’ is one of six projects shortlisted in the Retail Category with the winner being announced tomorrow night! 

An ambitious 3,000sqm shop-in-shop offering over 5,000 homeware products; the new furniture and homeware brand “The Life” vowed to “take on IKEA” when it opened last year. Conran and Partners were commissioned to create both brand identity and retail environment for the South Korean leading retailer EMart as part of The Shinsegae Group.
The recently unveiled concept store offers an instinctively logical layout to give customers an easier and more relaxed shopping experience in contrast to the overwhelming IKEA love-it/loath-it format.

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THE DESIGN CONCEPT – BUILDING A NEST
Our design for “The life” began with an engaging brand story, memorable brand character and a clear design language to provide a seamless retail experience.
Like a bird builds a nest, the brand concept is symbolic of carefully selecting individual products “to build your home beautiful”. The bird icon, a bold, graphic and simple design, accompanies the new brand logo, and is applied in various contexts throughout the store.

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A colour palette of dark grey, petrol blue, mid blue, mustard yellow, warm white and light oak is woven holistically into the brand identity and store environment, and was selected for its warm, fresh and sustainable properties.
The floor plan is chaptered methodically on a grid for easy department exploration. There are three key moments to the customer’s journey; an interactive marketplace, six inspiring room sets, and an abundant “warehouse”.

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A central oak baffled ceiling is the store’s spine, and a sculptural interpretation of the bird’s nest.

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Located upon arrival into the store, the marketplace encourages tactile interaction with the latest seasonal and gifting products. Low to medium fixtures place the product at easy reach whilst providing the customer with a clear view of the rest of the store for easy navigation.

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The online marketplace offers simple to find, digital catalogue browsing, overlooking an engaging suspended timber light installation; another playful interpretation of the bird’s nest, bringing the brand to life.

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The inspiring room sets are organised as a defined strip of “pavilions” and are cocooned in light oak to create an inviting environment. Sliding screens give displayed elements a clean backdrop, provide translucency for customers on either side and give the VM team controlled flexibility for merchandising.

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The warehouse, situated on the store’s perimeter, is an abundance of product, exaggerated by high shelving and repetition. Black ceilings, shelving and display units frame and enhance the product’s presence. Mid-level units, mesh plinths and product highlighting counteract these spaces, providing an honest industrial aesthetic and bursts of product inspiration.

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Photography by Nacasa and Partners