As many can attest, one size certainly does NOT fit all. Just like squeezing into a pair of ill-fitting jeans, your store fit-out designs may not suit the ‘traditional’ format – And why should it? If you believe your designs need room to take shape then put those jeans back on the rack & start reimagining your retail space with us.
Some believe that sameness equals a strong brand identity, so it may seem counterintuitive for you to stray from set store designs…but we’re kicking this outdated way of thinking to the curb. It’s easy to cling to familiarity, and while store consistency can be advantageous – not all shops + brands should follow the same format. Instead, let’s create unique in-store experiences that become a key asset for your company.
Unique store fit-outs have become a creative way to capture consumer attention and help brands remain relevant as a destination rather than just being a utility. Your customers no longer need to leave their houses and can choose to buy from anywhere in the world. So, how should you compete? By establishing a store worth going out for! Let’s take some inspiration from these pioneering Aussie brands – Aesop and Sarah & Sebastian.
AESOP | With over 200 boutiques located across the globe, Aesop has boldly challenged the concept of ‘sameness’. So how has the brand, loved by over 25 countries, established a global empire? It’s not through a one size fits all approach. The iconic Australian company believes that well-considered designs within their fit-out can offer an innovative retail experience that benefits customers. The industry leader shows a genuine interest in fit-outs that are sustainable and connect with the core values of consumers.
Each store incorporates a unique location-specific design while remaining identifiable as an Aesop boutique. The in-store space takes a considered fit-out approach – adopting the local culture, history and resources of the region. Aesop invests heavily in maintaining a ‘locally relevant design vocabulary’ that imbues the location, incorporates quality craftsmanship & locally sourced materials – thus weaving themselves into the fabric of the place.
Embodying this approach, the Aesop store in Rome features rough stone, rosy marble, and bundles of straw throughout, visually echoing the city’s ancient buildings. With the help of “Call Me by Your Name” Director, Luca Guadagnino, the brand successfully harnesses a sense of monastic order and tranquillity. The Aesop team looked to the materials and colour palette of the city’s aged building to develop the interior aesthetic. In stark comparison, Aesop Los Angeles is a recycler’s dream. The store features reclaimed cardboard tubing from fabric rolls used by the nearby fashion district, custom storage solutions, a salvaged tester sink and rustic tones that match the weathered shopfront. The 101-square-metre boutique designed by Brooks + Scarpa, is a simple, elegant and detail-rich space that uses modern eco-friendly innovations to facilitate its distinctive design.
Aesop illustrates how retailers can establish unique stores that FIT their brand, the store location and clients, ensuring that the loved brand never becomes a ‘soulless chain’.
SARAH & SEBASTIAN | If you love the idea of reinventing rather than replicating, but are unsure about crafting individual unique designs for every store then take a look at Australian retailer – Sarah & Sebastian. The luxury brand explores innovative fit-out ideas without sacrificing its consistent luxury feel. Each store features minimalistic designs + wears the brands signature black.
In the heart of Oxford Street Paddington is Sarah & Sabastian’s one of a kind flagship store – shaped as a rectangular glass jewellery box. This unique design by Landini Associates, features glossy surfaces, custom joinery, one-way mirrors and an underground piercing lab. The stripped-back interior emphasises quality craftsmanship and encourages an intimate experience for clients. In contrast to the sleek nature of the Paddington store, the Armadale boutique located in Melbourne is a textural oasis. Say hello to hand-crushed black foil, stained timber, mirrored cabinets and customised steel benches. Designed by Russell & George, the 50-square-meter gallery is inspired by Sarah Gittoes love of ocean diving and therefore resembles an unwater cave. The treasure trove perfectly housing the brands custom jewellery & unique design approach.
Sarah & Sabastian stores are a reminder that brands can maintain a strong identity while embracing a dose of imagination.