Harvey Nichols, Birmingham
65, The Mailbox, Wharfside St, Birmingham B1 1RE, United Kingdom
Virgile + Partners, London
Birmingham’s Mailbox has always been a slightly neglected retail scheme, and the Harvey Nichols store something of a disappointment.
Finally though, things have changed!
Contemporary and inventive, the newly reopened Harvey Nichols Concept Store extension is a Push for Posh reimagining of the department store experience.
With design from luxury specialists Virgile & Partners, its striking porcelain tiling, bold screen displays and shimmery metallic cladding, gives the store 45,000 square feet of free-flowing, gleaming opulence.
The experience is retail-meets-Ritz with a splash of Silicon Valley – the latter heralded by a huge screen above the front entrance.
You’ll find a style concierge service at the ready to help you with your coat at the door, and from there it’s a museum-like setting where quirky furnishings and gallery-worthy decor provide a varied, contrasting backdrop to a carefully curated product selection.
A genre-blurring offering from Virgile + Partners, the new Harvey Nichols concept store flawlessly combines the agency’s expertise in retail, hotel and restaurant design.
Vast and capacious, it thumbs its nose at the shop-in-a-shop direction of many department stores, and wayfinding is left to the customer – encouraging exploration of the space rather than the following of a rigidly defined path.
The fitting rooms are penthouse suite-decadent, with 360-degree mirrors with video playback and ambient light settings telling you all you need to know about the fit of a pair of jeans.
Seamless payment technology means you can have your order paid for and wrapped before leaving the change room.
Shopping-averse tagalongs can avail themselves of a specially designed waiting area where they can enjoy a drink or read of the Business Section while their partners shop up a storm.
They can then head downstairs to a chic restaurant with a menu designed by Michelin-starred chef Glyn Purnell.
This is on trend department store retail that puts the destination back into shopping.
We’re pleased to hear that Harvey Nichols plans to roll out more widely.