Laura is a dedicated member of the Harvey Nichols display team at the Leeds store. Laura kindly spared me a few moments to answer some questions about her ideas and the future plans for the store.What does the store currently have in place to attract the high end customer ?
“Each floor has a specifically designed atmosphere to appeal to it’s customer range, the mannequins and graphics advertise stock and events that then tie in with each floors design.The windows are a key attraction for the store, they mainly attract women and so there’s only one male mannequin in the windows. We try to create a luxury environment, we use lots of metallic and glass fixtures to place the products, making them seem more exclusive.”In your personal opinion,what’s missing from the store’s interior ?
“There need’s to be more of a continuous flow of style, it can feel very segregated because of all he floors. A theme of similar structures or repeated graphics would create more of a brand identity within the store.”What are the plans currently in place to change the store ?
“There are lots of plans, floor moves, new fixtures, among some other things. Personal shopping is an area of key investment this coming year. The area is used by the most VIP of customers as well as a meeting point for people who come from within the company to discuss issues and hold interviews. The space is meant to be welcoming and neutral but it is lacking in luxury and style.”Do you think adding a feature light would provide the missing elements to the space?
“I think a feature light, something sculptural would be great. The room needs a talking point that catches you’r eye, something artistic that at the same time remains stylish and inceeping with the Harvey Nichols brand. We have used interesting light fixtures on the denim shop and it has most definitely improved sales, it highlights products and acts as a piece of art.”What influences your choices in the display department ?
We take most of our influence from future trends in fashion, were currently looking at the prints and products for Spring 2013. It seems a long way off, but our graphics and windows have to be ahead of their time”What type of fixture wouldn’t work within your store ?
Anything ‘throw away’ would go against what we stand for as a company. We strive to provide quality, valuable products that stand the test of time. Any fixture should use good quality materials, it should strive to be a piece of art rather than simply a product. It has to be functional, no object that’s influenced by a current trend will stay within store very long, it has to be classically stylish. Above all quality and finish are something all of our brands in store provide, our store environment should reflect that.What materials do you tend to use when designing for display ?
I tend to design with luxury materials in mind. Even our event invites use, glass, mirror,silk, and metalic’s these materials reflect our store and the products within it. We are and expensive store but we strive to be welcoming and accessible and so familiarity is also something i like to consider when designing. I rarely use plastics other than to laminate graphic signs, I feel it cheapens the work unless used as part of a specific theme.How do you feel about the use of industrial materials such as brick or copper ?
I feel industrial materials are more suited to a high end restaurant, they can look luxurious when creatively used but I feel Harvey Nichols customers want to look and feel exclusive and there is a feeling of rustic given off by those materials that simply feels more “foody”.
Key points drawn
- Gimmicks wont work. Harvey Nichols is a place that has stood the test of the recession because of it’s choice of classic, stylish designs. The fixtures do not outdate or deteriorate in quality, they stay in place for years at a time.
- “A piece of art” is what my luminaire should aim to be, it could take on a sculptural form and act as more of an installation than just a light fixture.
- Trends should be considered but not obviously used. Nothing thats fashionable and temporary like aztec prints or studded fabrics would work because within a month it would need taking down.
- Luxury materials are the ideal choice. Although money is no object in this brief it would be irresponsible to design a solid gold installation. Materials such as leather, aluminium, glass and wood would be more suitable.
- It’s all about atmosphere. The personal shopping area needs a talking point, a luminaire thats beautiful and interesting.