Bureau de Change designed the new Made.com Flagship Showroom in Soho. The space re-evaluates the concept of a showroom for online brands, incorporating technology in order to add value to the customer experience.
Located in one of Europe's busiest shopping districts, the new store experience begins with the external windows. Rather than display product behind the glass, the glazing itself becomes a full scale representation of the product in an intricate permanent installation.
"This is such a bustling street, with so many stores vying for your attention, we wanted to produce something unexpected - an idea that would set it apart from the traditional format of lots of products in a display," said Billy Mavropoulos, Bureau de Change co-founder. "Instead, we have taken a single idea - of the products pushing through the glazing - and filled each window with it. You still get a sense of the products beyond the frontage, but the views are more intriguing, more oblique."
Almost 40,000 hollow clear plastic rods puncture the 10 windows of the store to create three-dimensional 'pinpressions' (similar to the 1980's executive PinArt toy) of some of MADE's most iconic pieces of furniture.
Inside, the store blends physical product with full scale projections in a series of room sets. Customers are guided through a network of white-washed walls - curved like the pages of a book (referencing the literary history of Charing Cross Road). These walls provide a clean backdrop for the furniture and a canvas upon which products can be projected. The use of large format projections mean a single room can show multiple combinations of product changeable on demand. This opens up the possibility for customers to experience the full product catalogue without requiring a hangar-like showroom or costly central storage facilities.
"MADE has always been ahead of the curve, and so the Soho store had to offer something more than the typical high street experience. For us, the design challenge was how to display in-store, where space it at a premium, the breadth of content you can on a website," explained Katerina Dionysopoulou, co-founder of Bureau de Change.
"The projections provide a true, adaptable representation of the products, at the right scale, in the right place. Without them, the room sets feel unfinished, so for us they were the missing link to achieving a flexibility you can normally only achieve online."
Customers are provided with tablets on which they can browse and find further product information about their favourite pieces. Alongside the digital experience, a large physical furniture sample archive provides an opportunity to touch and feel fabrics and explore colour swatches to help decision-making.