Gone are the days of dull and dusty store interiors brightened only by a few poster displays. Brands nowadays are becoming increasingly aware of the impact that interior design can have on the shopping experience, as they collaborate with artists and studios to fully explore the intersection between retail and architecture.
One of the main purveyors of this is Scandinavian cosmetics brand Aesop. Their good design is not limited solely to their minimalistic branding and packaging. It extends to their IRL displays and brick and mortar stores.
From Fernando and Humberto Campana designing their store in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Weiss-Heiten shaping the famous green Mitte Store, and Snøhetta creating the stores in Oslo, London, Dussledorf and Singapore, Aesop employs local architects and studios to infuse each of its brick and mortars with a unique sense of style, all the while maintaining the Scandinavian minimalism it is renowned for.
Wood, linear elements and simple colour palettes dominate each store, creating an experience that transcends the products on offer to encompass the spaces that they are offered in. Each cohesive store incorporates Aesop’s philosophy on sustainable design, which is centred around “a respectful response to function and setting.”
The design elements are not merely for aesthetic purposes however, as research shows that good design can have a psychological impact on spending habits. Not to mention that in the day and age of social media, a picture of an amazing interior being shared across the likes of Instagram and Facebook can lead architecture to being a great marketing investment.
Another brand that has capitalised on the marketing side of design and architecture is millennial brand Glossier. Emily Weiss’ unicorn start-up has taken the internet by storm with its relatable and inclusive content. But its new stores are the real talking point.
The brand’s flagship store in New York, designed by Gachot Studios and P.R.O, boasts high ceilings, pale pink walls and floors, and many, many, many mirrors for selfie-taking and sharing. It extends the feeling that the brand developed online and creates a similar atmosphere offline, with grooved displays to hold the products being just one of the examples of the designers playing with shapes and textures to create a sensory experience.
As Glossier, Aesop and other brands begin to take a holistic approach to design that extends past their website and packaging, the possibilities for collaboration within the arts expands, allowing ideas to cross-fertilise and create unique experiences.