Project Of The Week – Conran + Partners
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features Conran + Partners, 2016 finalists from the Retail Design category in the SBID Awards. Conran + Partners are behind South Korea’s new furniture and homeware brand ‘The Life’ – an exciting alternative to IKEA. The new brand recently unveiled its first concept store; an ambitious 3,000-square-metre shop offering over 5,000 homeware products. SBID interviews the imaginative minds behind the project to give an insight into their creative process and how they tackled some of the industry’s biggest and best projects.
Company: Conran + Partners
Project: The Life, E-Mart
Project Location: : Seoul, South Korea
What was the client’s brief?
South Korea’s leading retailer, The Shinsegae Group, have launched a new furniture and homeware brand. They gave us the brief to “take on IKEA” with an intuitive layout to offer customers an inspiring and satisfying retail experience in contrast to the overwhelming IKEA love-it/loath-it format. The new brand, known as the “The Life”, recently unveiled its first concept store; an ambitious 3,000sqm flagship offering over 5,000 homeware products. Conran + Partners were commissioned to create both brand identity and the store environment.
What inspired the design of the project?
The nest concept has been interpreted in many ways across the store, including woven screens, black wire mesh, milled patterned timber, an arched entrance and a central sculptural feature display.
The bird icon, a bold, graphic and simple design, represents the customer selecting items to “build its home beautiful”. It accompanies the new brand logo and is applied in various contexts throughout the store.
The Life’s core values represent simplicity, sustainability, and approachability which is demonstrated in the visual brand, material palette and detailing.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
Located within a large floor plan, the design needed to provide clear navigation whilst inspiring the customer unexpectedly along their journey.
The solution was to design a logical and ordered layout based on a structured grid with pockets of visual merchandising placed carefully throughout the store. A customer journey and environment design which gives inspiration and choice. A palette of materials and a fixture family with identity and ability to merchandise diverse product ranges.
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
Working with a client who was so open to creative, experience led design. The room sets or ‘pavilions’ are one of our favourite elements, they are cocooned in light oak to create an inviting environment. Sliding screens give product a clean backdrop, provide translucency for customers on either side and give the VM team flexibility for merchandising. This project happened at a very fast pace, this and the purity of the concept delivered was very rewarding.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
The SBID awards are prestigious and world renowned and the chance for our designs to be acknowledged by leading industry experts are all elements that attracted us to entering.
Questions answered by Simon Kincaid, Director at Conran + Partners
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If you missed last week’s Project of the Week with the Rockwell Group – Click Here
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