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Retail Design for the Millennials

The retail industry’s challenge of capturing and holding the attention of the Millennial demographic is officially ON. Retail design for the millennials involves designing retail spaces to create compelling shopping experiences.  That’s the name of the game for this sector.

Pop-up shops are prominent examples of the new experiential shopping space. These temporary shops are installations designed for selling merchandise in destinations where target customers are likely to be. Top fashion houses like Fendi and Armani have used these pop-ups at events like the Cannes Film Festival and New York Fashion Week in neighborhoods like Soho.

Fendi Soho pop-up shop

#fendishoho via

This #FendiSoho pop-up has a fun arcade theme, complete with handbag-dispensing vending machines and a lightbulb-studded chandelier in a vintage space with exposed brick walls and parquet floors.

The subscription shop is another example of experiential shopping. A more permanent model than the pop-up, the subscription shop is designed to entertain customers and encourage socializing.  Birchbox, primarily an online cosmetics subscription service, now has a physical shop for their customers to visit. 

Birchbox Soho

Birchbox Soho shop

The design Birchbox uses allows for in-store beauty services, classes and a DIY box-building station for samples to take home.

Merchandise displayed as art objects is a very popular concept, particularly for shoes and handbags. This theme often uses a minimalist design to give the customer the experience of luxury and value via the look and feel of an art gallery.

Movie theaters are probably the most familiar form of experiential retail.  It’s rare however, for theaters to implement original design — often it’s the unfortunate maroon velvet homage to the early 20th century here and there, or just outright schlock. This theater in Hong-Kong by Oft Interiors really got it right when they opted for a modern, almost Star Trek-y look for this huge space. Bravo!



Greg Klassen Glass Waterway Table

Green Furniture Design and Fine Craftsmanship

In the past decade the concept of green furniture design and sustainable interiors has achieved widespread acceptance. Its application, however, can still be tricky. At times, the look of the end product isn’t quite right, availability might be an issue, or maybe it’s the quality that’s lacking. It just isn’t always as easy as it sounds. (Is anything?)

What follows are three examples of green furniture design that meet the criteria for sustainability, accomplished design and quality craftsmanship.

Berg River Dining Table/Greg Klassen

Berg River Dining Table/Greg Klassen

First up, the River Collection by Greg Klassen. All of Klassen’s works are crafted from a variety of sustainably sourced trees from the Pacific Northwest. Each piece is inspired by the area’s woods and streams  as much as by the tree’s individual grain patterns and raw edges. The inlay of blue glass gives the collection its distinctive, a river runs through it, look.


Gradient Table

Gradient Table

Next, since ca. 2004 furniture designer and craftsman Eli Chissick has been creating pieces of furniture from wood scraps sourced from carpenters’ shop floors. Aside from the quality of the work itself, what’s most surprising is the volume of his body of work. There are three different collections, each comprised of many individual pieces. After visiting his site it’s easy to see why he’s won so many awards. Amazing. Definitely worth a look.

Finally, for many of us the charm of the sea shore is hard to resist. What’s harder is applying those beach treasures in ways appropriate for anything other than a pre-teen girl’s bedroom. Solutions?


How about this Driftwood collection by Swedish architect/designer LInda Hagberg. She uses sourced driftwood and parametric technology to create furniture inspired by the undulating patterns of the wood’s natural state. The result is sustainable furniture that is unique, practical and beach-y without being precious.  Win-win.


Aviation Chic? Yes, It’s A Thing

Picture 1

Fuselage Clock – Photo credit: Fallen Furniture


So, let’s say you’ve got a room that’s begging for some kind of punch. You know it needs something unique, yet it has to be something that will coexist nicely with what’s already there.

For decades, the go-to solution for this type of challenge has often been to add something exotic, perhaps Moroccan, African or some form of Chinoiserie. In recent years, it’s the industrial/warehouse-style pieces repurposed from reclaimed materials have stepped in to serve this need.

This trend has since evolved into a full-blown reclaimed good style and that includes repurposed airplane parts. The difference here is the in finishes, which include highly polished metal as well as powder-coated colors. A departure from the rusty, rough-hewn look associated with the industrial warehouse style.

Fallen Furniture, is a company from the UK that designs a line of furniture and accessories from reclaimed aircraft parts – both commercial and military.

747 wheel coffee table

Coffee Table – Photo credit: Fallen Furniture

Motoart, is a company based out of California with showrooms on both U.S. coasts, Australia, China and the Czech Republic. The company has been around since 2001. They manufacture an extensive array of furnishings made from repurposed airplane parts that includes everything from conference tables to desk clocks.

Alleron Coffee Table

Alleron Coffee Table – Photo credit: Motoart

The pieces are as intriguing as they are sturdy. The design elements they bring bear a particular flavor, yet it’s easy to see how they would work across modern or contemporary residential, corporate and commercial applications.

Twin Tail Beech Desk

Twin Tail Beech Desk – Photo credit: Motoart

Avation has been part of our mass consciousness for many decades, so it’s elements have become relatable to most cultures.

Bamboo Biplane Conference Table

Bamboo Biplane Conference Table – Photo credit: Motoart

What likely began as a kitchy product line for avation geeks, a super-specific target market, has evolved into something that fits well with an aesthetic that’s very current and spans the globe.

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