11/19/2012

Retail 2013: the Look, the Strategy, the Experience

Retail is always festive this time of year! Between Black Friday and Christmas, shops are ready to welcome and wow you in their refreshed spaces packed with just the right merchandise for your gift list.

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ASI is all set to celebrate the holidays, too. Visit Architectural Systems during the Retail Design Collective on Dec. 5-7, at 150 W. 25th Street, 8th Fl. Get inspired by the latest interior finishes for 2013 in our updated showroom!

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Experience and visualize the power of materials through full-scale applications, including our award-winning 2012 introductions and previews of innovative material launches planned for next year: Glass Mosaics - IceMetrix™, revolutionary floating floors, dimensional wood panels and expanded eco-porcelain collections are just a few.

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Want insight on the trends? Read on. As a strategic materials partner working to translate retail brands through materials (in a range from specialty stores, to flagships and shop-in-shops in major department stores) we are always tracking WHAT’S NEXT®. Here’s the early word on 2013 from some of the experts at Architectural Systems:

THE LOOK

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I work closely with Andrew Cooper , VP of National Accounts (and my bro-in-law!). Through his focused collaborations with large chains and specialty stores, he’s seeing a trend of authentic wood and stone flooring in soft earth tones. This “retail neutral” palette doesn’t overshadow the merchandise. Vinyl that simulates natural, weathered materials is still prevalent, especially when there is a sensitivity to budget. The juxtaposition of stylized industrial looks are still strong, too, as reclaimed woods add warmth and character, paired with cool, contemporary metallic finishes. 

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 Bottega Veneta, Singapore 

THE STRATEGY

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Nancy Jackson, President, has deep relationships with the retail design community. She’s watching how new ideas that were introduced in 2012 will continue to make a big impact in 2013. As competition increases to become the favorite retail store, the industry will continue to be creative in developing ways to capture brand loyalty. Just how will the JCP ‘village of shops’ concept influence other national retailers? What about the high-low collaboration like Neiman Marcus and Target, set to open on Dec. 1? I know the Diane von Furstenberg black and white yoga mat is on my wish list this year – what's on yours?

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THE EXPERIENCE

Speaking for myself (Gabrielle Jackson  ASI’s Materialista), I love seeing how concept stores offer items for every aspect of life – from clothing, to novelties and home goods. Retail stores are now reflecting a lifestyle. 

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C. Wonder has created a stir in New York in the last year, where celebrities were on hand to celebrate the first anniversary of the original SoHo location. Featuring wirebrushed Bamboo Flooring from ASI, the new flagship at the Time Warner Center is a ‘wonder’land with oversized oddities like Zebras, motorcycles, and pops of color everywhere, creating a very memorable in-store environment!

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Marimekko’s flagship Flatiron store in New York is a strong representation of an iconic brand, paired together with personalized service. In this case, a seamstress is actually on-site, ready to take orders for pillows, draperies or more made from your favorite Finnish fabrics. This store is a great example of design incorporating timeless elements with fresh twists, with the FSC-certified, light Oak European Hardwood flooring (supplied by ASI) complements the colorful, graphic merchandise.

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One of my nieces’ favorite spots in NYC (and where I’ll be gift shopping this year), American Girl also uses strategies to engage its customers, with an in-store Doll Hair Salon, and a café for birthday parties.

Just last week, I read an article by Gensler principal and long-time ASI friend, Kathleen Jordan, a leader in their retail practice, about the resurgence of the customer experience. Her findings illustrate trends that we have been watching. As Jordan says, the success of retailers going forward will come from a willingness to pursue imaginative or radical strategies to serve today’s shopper.

Seeing the progress and re-invention of retail spaces has been very exciting, and ASI is thrilled to be a part of it, working with some of the most creative minds in the industry. Let’s talk about your plans for 2013! Come to Retail Design Collective, have a drink, have a bite. We’re always happy to collaborate with you. We pride ourselves on our unique interior finish solutions that translate your brand.

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Happy Holidays to all of you, with the hope that you get everything you wish for this year. In recognition of the difficulties brought on by recent events, I am proud to acknowledge that Architectural Systems has made donations to Hurricane Sandy relief funds.

Posted at 11/19/2012 2:59 PM

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