CID’s Interior Design of the Year: retail award winner Markus Käss, art director at Schwitzke & Partners Dubai, shares his principles of showroom design.
What do stores have to be able to do more and more nowadays? Short and simple: bring across the brand. Now, more than ever the store has become the brand’s calling card. In the store, you experience the brand in its own home; it is as if you are the brand’s guest.
Marcus Käss, art director at Schwitzke & Partner Dubai has won this year’s CID Interior Design of the Year: Retail Award for his Virgin Megastore project in Yas Mall. He shares his philosophy of design focusing on his recent projects, which include the Chelsea FC store, Marina Home Showroom in Mall of the Emirates and the prize-winning Virgin Megastore in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi.
“The brand’s story and its promise of quality must be tangible for the customer, especially in times of alternative shopping opportunities on the internet. The demand for all-embracing brand images has risen sharply. Well-staged brands have the crucial edge. They beat those competitors lacking distinctive profiles.”
The success of a brand has to be the objective for a retail designer. Based on this statement Schwitzke focuses on creating an added value for the brand in each and every project.
“What is important for us, is the feeling the customer has when entering the shop. The philosophy of the brand must be sensed immediately. If you decide to buy something in an emotionally satisfying atmosphere, you will look back with pleasure on the purchase for a much longer time.”
The architects and designers are responsible for the development and the implementation of retail concepts, supporting and shaping the rise of high-profile brands in the Middle Eastern region.
The philosophy, which the Schwitzke team follows, is quite simple — to become a successful sales area, the store has to be credible and even more be an imaginative location of different experiences.
Käss says: “Only in this case the power of the brand can be revealed and the purchase impulse can be stimulated.
“You have to avoid being ordinary and, therefore, interchangeable, a particular message has to be send.”
He further explains: “Good retail design fulfils the function of transmitting emotions. Working on a shop concept for a brand not only challenges the designer, it sometimes also challenges the brand. In that way, those easy decisions are not always accepted. Using a holistic approach while understanding the market mechanisms, the habits of the customer target group and the latest trends often lead to a complete reorganisation of the sales floor.
“A typical vision statement of a successful retail design studio should result in n increased sales numbers, a strong brand statement and an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. By starting this dialogue with the customer, the brand should convey a message. It should not be arbitrary and, therefore, exchangeable. The needs and the values of the target group are important ever-changing factors, as the core of the brand is a fixed constant, which has to be presented in new and exciting ways. “In the end, only the emotional commitment transforms customers into loyal brand devotees.”