Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: Eliot Postma; courtesy the designers
Bureau de Change Architects transform an old run-down book store into the crisp, spacious and inviting MADE.com’s flagship store in central London…
A semi-digitised, rather intriguing retail experience begins with the external windows. Rather than display product behind the glass, the glazing itself becomes a full scale representation of the product in an intricate temporary installation.
Pushing the envelope further, the design team at Bureau de Change Architects has taken a single idea - of the products pushing through the glazing - and filled each window with it. You still get a sense of the products beyond the frontage, but the views are more intriguing, more oblique.
The idea is to produce something unexpected and captivating. And this is accomplished via almost 40,000 hollow clear plastic rods puncturing the 10 windows of the store to create three-dimensional ‘pinpressions’ (similar to the 1980’s executive PinArt toy) of some of MADE’s most iconic pieces of furniture.
Having started out with the intention to re-evaluate the concept of a ‘showroom’ and incorporate technology in a way that would add value to the customer experience, the award-winning store is stamped with MADE.com’s practising philosophy of always being ahead of its curve; it offers a complete experience spanning the breath of products that is otherwise possible only via a website.
So the store’s interior blends physical product with full scale projections in a series of room sets. Customers are guided through a network of white-washed walls - curved like the pages of a book (referencing the literary history of Charing Cross Road). These walls provide a clean backdrop for the furniture and a canvas upon which products can be projected. The use of large format projections mean a single room can show multiple combinations of product changeable on demand. This opens up the possibility for customers to experience the full product catalogue without requiring a hangar-like showroom or costly central storage facilities. Further, customers are provided with tablets on which they can browse and find further product information about their favourite pieces.
Alongside the digital experience, a large physical furniture sample archive provides an opportunity to touch and feel fabrics and explore colour swatches to help decision-making.
The store has bagged the World Interior News’ 2015 award for best large retail space – a fitting accolade in the present-day shifting scenario of product perception and buying patterns.