Flexibility. Technology. Distinction. All hallmarks of today’s retail showroom space or—as many industry professionals now call them—experience centers. “These spaces are all about the experience,” says Scott Davies, marketing strategy manager for appliance company Fisher & Paykel. “It provides a platform for our customers to interact with our appliances in a unique and memorable way through both physical and digital elements.”
That idea of the brand experience— and the flexibility to adapt the space to it—has become the central driver for companies whose products range from appliances, to Ugg footwear, to John Hardy jewelry. “In addition to housing our showroom, our new space at 330 Hudson Street in New York serves as our corporate headquarters and an environment where we not only do business but also entertain,” says John Hardy CEO, Robert Hanson. “The unique showroom environment we’ve created is the window to our brand.”
For the project team, translating the brand into an experience means truly understanding what the brand represents.
“An everlasting trend is creating a unique environment that is memorable, is inspiring and shows the true soul of a brand.” — Inga Kruliene, principal at Design Republic, designers of John Hardy’s New York showroom.
For John Hardy, for instance, the team studied the company’s Balinese history to ensure the final product reflected it appropriately. “Instead of bringing Bali into the showroom in a literal way, we introduced subtle cues through texture, color, contrasting elements of light and dark, silver and gold, wood and glass into the space,” says Hanson. “These luxury design elements create an art gallery feel allowing our powerful, dramatic and inspiring artisan-crafted jewelry to shine.” An art gallery. A creative office. A sleek, urban home. Whatever the experience, today’s showrooms are delivering, with the tone of the brand embedded throughout.
We are very interested in the big-picture vision,’’ says Dan Finnegan, senior vice president at Structure Tone. “We like to learn where the company comes from, their values, their culture. All of that helps us fine-tune the details to meet the experience level they’re looking for.”