Humanising the store experience with plant life may seem simplistic, but in an increasingly urbanised world – 54.5% of the global population were living in cities in 2016, a figure projected to rise to 60% by 2030 (UN, 2016) – it’s a practice that’s being used to progressively compelling effect. Offering not only a softening influence but also a sense of transition, we spotlight four brands recently deploying it with success.
Asics – Telegraphing Holistic Wellbeing: To communicate its wider ethos of merging sport, wellbeing and science, in May 2017, Japanese athletics brand Asics collaborated with UK-based living walls specialists and landscapers Scotscape. The company installed bespoke suspended ceiling planters and living walls in the brand’s global headquarters (Kobe, Japan) and in its Brussels and Amsterdam stores. The concept centred around a semi-hydroponic planter system with automated irrigation, which floated serenely above the store, creating a living canopy. See also The Supportive Sell in our Business of Wellbeing Macro Trend.
Seat – Nature Creates a Sense of Transition: Spanish carmaker Seat’s debut store in Intu Lakeside shopping centre in the UK takes cues from Seat’s native Barcelona – including trees, bird sounds and lighting inspired by dappled sunlight – to create a sense of transition from the frenetic mall environment. Mike Roberts, chief creative officer at British agency Green Room Retail, which designed the store, described the commercial rationale: “Feeling relaxed increases 56.1% in natural surroundings, automatically equating to more dwell time, and a 1% increase in positive dwell time equates to 1.3% increase in spend.”
Story – Bioorganic Flagged as Major Retail Theme: As of June 2017, rotating New York retail concept Story – which creates a new theme every six weeks – introduced its latest guise, Fresh, which focuses on a bioorganic offering. Developed in partnership with US e-delivery service Jet.com, the 2,000 sq ft store features an assortment of fresh vegetables (provided by Jet) and innovative eco-friendly products such as Click & Grow – an indoor self-watering home garden. Further emphasising the theme, an abundance of plants and artificial grass flooring are arranged throughout the store, which will also host events such as cooking workshops, skincare courses and discussion panels concerned with promoting organic approaches to urban living.
Apple – Big Business’s Back Garden: In May 2016, Apple used the launch of its San Francisco flagship to reveal its slowly evolving store blueprint. The subtly humanised, less corporate revision of its clinical-looking standard store formats feature interiors of stainless steel and glass with wood, trees and plenty of natural light. Echoed externally, the design’s key feature is The Plaza – a 24/7 outdoor ‘back yard’ area including a 50-ft living wall that serves as a backdrop for live weekly music performances and talks. It was designed by British architects Foster & Partners.
For more on how hospitality and home appliance-orientated brands are leveraging nature, see Wild Wanderers in Travel for the Agile Elite and Self-Sustaining Spaces, part of our Kitchen of the Future Industry Trend.
Also check out Nature Embracers for more on the blossoming consumer appetite for horticultural pursuits as an antidote to city-induced stress.