Embracing an influx of travellers, especially from China (760,000 visited in 2016, up 44% since 2015 – Euromonitor, 2017), shrewd Russian retailers are investing in more conceptually exciting store designs.
While championing both local and international talent is key, representing Russia as a hotbed of fresh talent attuned to a new, modern attitude is high on the agenda. We spotlight some of the most significant examples.
- Indie Department Store Champions New Talent: Opened late 2016, 4,000 sq m department store Trend Island Moscow acts as a creative hub melding local Moscovite culture and Russian zeitgeist with international design. Located within Moscow shopping centre Avia Park, it houses 30 local and international brands straddling fashion, cosmetics and homeware and revolves around three key pillars: fashion, gastronomy and entertainment.
Operating with an innovative and relatively low-risk business model to attract fresh design talent (and Moscow’s creative clientele), fashion designers don’t pay rent for concession spaces, and Trend Island doesn’t buy any products. Instead, the department store simply takes a commission on sales. Furthering its commitment to young blood, the space also houses a café and a ‘lectorium’ hosting talks and exhibitions. Design-wise, the store resembles a typical Russian cityscape, with sidewalks, street signs, benches and green trees adorning the space.
- Platform for Art & Fashion Conceived to Shift The Status Quo: Premium Moscow department store Tsvetnoy Central Market also seeks to represent the modern Russian spirit with the launch of its independent talent platform ArtBasement. Conceived to pioneer emerging contemporary artists and fashion designers, it holds an in-house art gallery, cinema and event space, and hosts exhibitions, film screenings and art performances/projects.
Carrying that art-led perspective into the store’s visual merchandising, Tsvetnoy Central Market has also initiated a bi-annual collaboration with artists to overhaul all in-store visual communications and merchandising, echoing Dover Street Market’s famous transformational Tachiagari format. Mixing price points to emphasise attitude over cost – a practice that goes against the grain of Russia’s usual price-focused segmentation (the higher the price, the greater the status) – all products are showcased in bespoke, mixed-brand environments.
See also Lifestyle Labs: Rethinking Categorisation in Rise of the Exploratorium.