Gap and Starbucks Localise Store Designs
Leading global brands including Gap and Starbucks are continuing to experiment with store designs inspired by their surroundings to establish a more local identity. The goal is to make themselves more relevant to their catchment audience, and re-pitch the brand overall as more than a generic global conglomerate.
US fashion retailer Gap’s latest concept store, on 5th Avenue in New York, is conceived as a “lived in” experience, the company says. Referencing the city’s industrial heritage, it incorporates industrial, vintage mercantile styling with features such as products wrapped in brown paper and twine, amid a bright, modern space. Furthering the New York connections, the stores also stocks third-party products such as New York-based magazines Inventory and Gather.
Meanwhile, US coffee giant Starbucks has also launched a locally focused store in Downtown Disney, a section of California’s Disneyland just outside the park gates.
“We’re in California, and we were inspired by that California patio and al fresco dining experience,” explains Bill Sleeth, Starbucks’ VP of design. “It’s shaded, it’s more serene.”
While the design signals a place of refuge for parents, almost as an antithesis to its theatrical surroundings, many features remain 'Disneyfied’. A 10 ft video wall displays a Starbucks-specific animated story, while a huge touch screen takes periodic images of customers in-store, displaying them as interactive chalkboard-style drawings.
The location is also designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification standards, featuring a living wall with more than 1,000 plants as well as furnishings made with reclaimed wood from old railroad boxcars.
The store is the latest example of Starbucks’ location-relevant store designs, such as a minimalist store in Japan, a highly decorative venue in India and a scaled-down, full-service store on a Swiss train.