Sheridan&Co has created the interior retail design for German high-end beauty retailer Douglas's flagship Frankfurt store, which sprawls across 5 levels. The redesigned retail space, to be renovated and launched in phases, represents a new strategy for the upmarket brand to rejuvenate its brand identity so that it is relevant to the modern consumer, as well as to create an emotionally led and immersive retail experience that allows customers to connect deeply with the products in store. Furthermore, unlike other department stores of its kind that tend to be presented as if they're a host brand to a series of other brands, the recasting of its customer journey uniquely positions Douglas as an educator and curator of some of the best beauty and grooming products on the market.
Douglas has over 1,800 stores in 19 European countries. Reconfiguring its retail presence in Frankfurt is part of a wider shift to reshape the way modern consumers shop for beauty products. "Douglas is leading the way for the future of retail with a unique environment that uses every opportunity to provide sensory, tactile and educational touchpoints that beguiles the wandering eye to linger, absorb and immerse in a brand world led by Douglas but enlivened by forward-thinking lifestyle brands who understand the importance of theatre and experimentation when it comes to attracting customers," explained Michael Sheridan, chairman and co-founder of Sheridan&Co.
Douglas espouses a 'neo-luxe' aesthetic, melding classic patterns and contrasting materials - from raw textures to refined, from matt to gloss - as well as pops of colour to draw the eye across soaring architectural statements. Clean lines, accents of polished gold against white lacquer and stone, ivory and marble against plush pink, charcoal and the iconic Douglas-mint hue brings these elements of home comforts and luxury to life. The external store façade, which maximises huge window spaces, brings vitality, energy and light on approach and upon entry to the store. Inside, the idea of vitality and energy epitomised by activation and service spaces throughout the five floors - both communal and private - signify a retail journey focused primarily on experience and experimentation, not products.
"Every floor has been mapped out to ensure that the Douglas visual identity is elegantly echoed and implied within the touchpoints, without overwhelming the senses," Sheridan added. "The intention is that these brand activations are individual chapters to the wider Douglas curated story that unfolds across all floors."
A Trends Collection area comprising an entire wall dedicated to the newest product releases as well as a 'Douglas Exclusives' bay on each floor, showcases a handpicked selection of seasonal favourites or influencer-approved products, underpins Douglas' positioning further as curator, trend-spotter and an expert in beauty. This is complemented further by a 'library' of products categorised according to trends: from natural beauty products to Korean beauty - the display highlights up-and-coming brands and the latest fads - all carefully chosen by Douglas for showcasing. Activation spaces like the quick treatment lounge likewise plays host to burgeoning trends in beauty and is centred on excitement, experimentation and learning. Here, brands are able to provide 10 minute mini treatments to deepen exploration and consumer understanding of products and its application to each individual's needs.
The top floor of the retail space is Douglas' piece de resistance: a destination area with a luxury hair salon, makeup school, nail bar, a lounge bar for relaxing and further treatment rooms where customers are invited to try out new, pioneering and exciting beauty treatments from brands carefully handpicked by Douglas not found elsewhere on the high street.
"The new Douglas shopping experience is really a demonstration in the art of curation. Of course every store 'curates' but very few, if any, use this as a narrative to emphasise their own brand's point of difference. Plus, more than ever, retailers need to be seamlessly agile and sensitive to new trends, translating this into the retail space to make the bricks and mortar shopping experience continuously interesting," commented Michael Sheridan. "I think part of the problem department stores face is the way in which their own brand may drown in the cacophony of other brands they house, clamouring for attention. Established brands have historically had power over a retail interior's aesthetics, whereas Douglas' strategy is to regain some of that power so it becomes more unifying; a collaboration if you will with other brands whilst also strengthening its brand identity."
Photography: Courtesy of Sheridan&Co