Retail Residencies: The Rise of the Shoppable Apartment
Using in-context inspiration and a more immersive approach to retailing to drive sales, shrewd furniture retailers are transcending the traditional room-set experience by turning their showrooms into ‘apartment stores’. This new wave of home boutiques – which trade on earlier projects such as Droog’s Try-Before-You-Buy Apartment – taps the increasing consumer appetite for Contextual Commerce and intimacy.
- Model House: US luxury furniture retailer Restoration Hardware has opened a 40,000 sq ft venue in Jacksonville, Florida (June 2016), displaying products in a purpose-built ‘model’ house. Every part is decorated as if within an actual home, meaning visitors have to purchase product online – avoiding high visual merchandising maintenance. A rooftop garden and bar presents a place for customers to kick back and celebrate successful shopping missions.
- Old Meets New: French brand Red Edition has opened a new appointment-only showroom apartment in the Marais district in the heart of Paris. To access the three-bedroom, 1,300 sq ft Parisian apartment, visitors have to climb a narrow staircase – emphasising the sense of exclusivity. At the top, they’ll discover the brand’s latest collections alongside curated vintage finds. All items are purchasable on-site.
- E-tailer Opens Showroom: UK e-brand Swoon has moved into multichannel retail with the introduction of its own version of an intimate Victorian apartment near London’s famous Borough food market. Dubbed simply Home, the industrial-luxe, appointment-only space solely displays Swoon’s bestsellers, and is curated by in-house stylists who remain on-site during customer visits to give design and interior styling tips. All items showcased in the space can also be purchased via the brand’s website. For more on the renaissance of the rough-luxe aesthetic, see Sensory Brand Spaces Pt. 2: Sanctuary & Gilded Urbanism.
- Art Meets Commerce: Adding a retail arm to its design practice, conceptual design studio The Apartment Copenhagen has created a house in a restored 18th-century apartment in Copenhagen’s Old Town, dedicated to selling 20th-century furniture, contemporary art and product design pieces. It also hosts events and private dinners in collaboration with external partners, which to date have included international auction houses Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury. In addition to selling every item showcased within the space, the studio is also available for private interior consultation and design projects.