Ground Floor Studio, 54 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3QN
Having previously worked at a number of different design consultancies, Howard Sullivan and Tom Philipson came together in 2008 to set up insight-led design agency YourStudio.
The London based studio, which now has an offshoot in Melbourne, Australia, is best known for its design of retail and hospitality spaces, working with brands ranging from Top Shop and Liberty to Converse, Pret a Manger, Virgin Holidays and most recently jewellery brand Pandora.
With boundaries blurring between traditional retail, hospitality and leisure, many of the concepts they create, seek to satisfy the converging demands of these spaces, resulting in the creation of more experiential brand environments.
Their award-winning design for Top Shop’s ‘Splash!’ installation at the Oxford Circus flagship is a prime example of this. Launching the retailer’s swimwear collection, with hidden lighting mimicking the flow of water, the physical installation snakes its way around the store, creating intrigue and the playfulness associated with a waterpark, while those taking the VR ride are treated to a journey that whizzes them through the store and out onto Regent Street and beyond.
A lighthearted theme is also apparent in their concept for Birchbox’s first UK store. Bringing the retailer’s online experience to life in a store, the concept uses a fun and intuitive way to shop, with a physical interpretation of their signature ‘Build Your Own Birchbox’, which provides one of two ‘instagrammable’ moments in-store, the other being an interactive installation, where visitors are invited to hang a love note on the tree and share their photos on social media, and both proving to be highly successful in attracting customers to the store.
As we see with many service providers, the importance of providing different ways in which customers can interact with brands on their own terms is increasingly important. YourStudio’s concept for Virgin holiday’s does just that, not only creating an oasis for the brand with its ‘pool house’ design for their concession concept, it also provides consultation spaces tailored to each customer, from a relaxed one-to-one conversation at the bar over a drink, right through to the quieter and more private consultation desks at the back of the space. And their standalone stores go even further, with a VR rollercoaster experience, airplane seating, and complimentary champagne, coffee and cocktails ensuring customers are in the holiday mood, even before they have even stepped foot on the plane!
Following on from the success of the Veggie Pret trial, the studio was commissioned to create a new design palette for the concept. The new layout is optimised to serve more customers in a shorter amount of time, while there are a mix of both sociable and cosier spaces for those that wish to dine in. We love the clever use of lighting which adapts to the outside weather, becoming brighter on a dark winter day, enticing customers in.
For jewellery brand Pandora they created a gleaming, multi-sensory pop-up to launch the brand’s 18K gold-plated products – Pandora Shine. The multi-faceted 5m high installation takes cues from the collection’s honeycomb charm. The immersive space incorporates scented golden flowers displaying charms on their stamens, the sound of bees buzzing and LED light panels that replicate the movement of bees, bringing a giant working beehive to life on the streets of Sydney.
The creation of customer experiences that provide pleasurable and meaningful connections between a brand and its customers are definitely at the heart of each of their concepts. We look forward to seeing future projects from YourStudio.