With the influence of Instagram and social media, “InstaWorthy” experiential spaces have been popping up left and right. We’ve curated a list of our top 6 experience retail spaces around the world. Read on for some of our favourites.
The Manzoni – Restaurant x Showroom
“Just like in London, we don’t think it’s enough to just have a showroom. We need a place where people slow down and experience our products in a live setting.” ~ Tom Dixon, Designer
Opening to coincide with last month’s Milan Design Week 2019, designer Tom Dixon’s new restaurant in Milan, The Manzoni, doubles as a furniture showroom and Mr. Dixon’s European headquarters. Steps from the Duomo and La Scala, the location is stellar.
For the designer, showing his wares in a conventional showroom was growing stale. In this new restaurant, customers are able to better experience and envision his collections in an immersive, functional environment.
In the lush Jungle room, for example, Tom Dixon’s gorgeous Spring Lights made of pliant stainless steel ribbons, and Fat bar stools feature while his Opal Lights and custom cork table furnish the restaurant’s main dining room.
Inform Interiors – Bocci Beauty
Vancouver’s mecca for contemporary design, Inform Interiors, has installed a spectacular immersive display honoring the 14 Series by long-time collaborator and supplier of lighting, Bocci. Under the creative direction of Omer Arbel, this Vancouver/Berlin-based manufacturing company has been creating inventive, sculptural and thought-provoking lighting since 2005. In its inaugural year, Arbel launched the ever-popular 14 series comprised of glass spheres with frosted cylindrical voids that house low-voltage xenon or LED lamps. In the current display, visitors to the store can step inside a giant cube and experience the atmospheric magic of Arbel’s Series 14 lighting.
Cafe Yeonnam-dong – Living in a Dream
Inspired by Korean TV show, W, this Seoul Café has the look and feel of a hand drawn, black and white comic – from the walls and floors to the tables and chairs. The result is a clever, 2D optical illusion that makes customers feel they are straddling 2 worlds – the real one and a cartoon facsimile. The experience is fun – if a little unsettling – and distinctly evocative of Richard Linklater’s 2001 fantastical, “Waking Life” film.
Atelier Beauté Chanel – Share the Fantasy
Pushing the boundaries of retail, Chanel’s Atelier Beauté on Soho’s Wooster Street de-emphasizes sales in favour of experience. Perhaps a nod to their golden “Share the Fantasy” ad, this space invites visitors to experience the luxury and beauty associated with the brand. This first-of-a-kind venture for Chanel, encourages customers to experiment vs. purchase. The store is divided into spaces dedicated to the ways we use their products – Cleanse, Care, Skin Enhancers (primers, foundations, concealers), Face Definers (highlighters, bronzers, tints), and a Lip Bar. In addition, the Atelier Parfum encourages visitors to blindly sniff unbranded bottles from the Chanel collection to select a new favourite without bias.
Nike – House of Innovation 000
Nike’s Flagship on New York’s 5th Avenue in New York once again redefines retail. Celebrating the brand’s trailblazing spirit and spanning 6 floors, this space will lure fans and passersby alike. The design is intended to evoke a visceral response – a feeling of movement. From the angled tilt of the entryway, to the triangular foyer, inspired by a runner’s starting blocks, everything serves as an homage to the athlete.
And each floor reflects Nike’s commitment to integrated design. The terrazzo flooring, for example, is made from recycled Nike cleats while the largest sneaker lab in the world has digital displays that customers can use to explore the very latest releases of sneakers and then use their phones to reserve their coveted pair of kicks.
In addition, recognizing the value and symbiotic relationship with the on-line Nike experience, the digital experience extends throughout the store. Using the Nike app, customers are able to use and instant check out service or a “Shop the Look” function, where shoes and outfits you select will be sent directly to the change room for you to try.
In The Arena space, customers are able to personalize certain shoes and clothes with the help of personal shoppers; the Nike By You campaign lets you customize colours, laces, fabrics etc. to make your Nike, your own.
Restoration Hardware NYC – Pastis No More
The Meatpacking district’s legendary restaurant, Pastis, has been replaced by a 90,000-square foot steel, glass and brick Restoration Hardware (RH). This is the retail giant’s 85th store and its biggest. After seven years of development, the hundred year old historic building is now topped with a glass and steel 3-story structure that includes a garden and restaurant designed by California’s Backen, Gillam and Kroeger. In addition, this RH offers 2 new services – the RH Interior Design Studio and Atelier, for consultative services with RH design specialists and the customization of products.