Studio Four IV
44 Osborne Villas, Hove, BN3 2RB
Founded by Chris Dewar Dixon and Andy Bone in 1989, Studio Four IV is a leading consultancy in the design of luxury interiors for the retail and hospitality sectors. They have gained their reputation over the years from working with both quintessentially British, as well as many international brands such as Mulberry, Harvey Nichols, Wedgewood, The National Portrait Gallery, Burberry, Brown Thomas, Mandarin Oriental, Emporio Armani, Raffles and fine wine investment house Oeno.
Their first design for Harvey Nichols store, in the Landmark Shopping centre in Hong Kong, was a great example of Studio Four IV’s innovation in luxury department store design. Individual departments had their own look and feel, with distinctive merchandising furniture helping each tell its own story, the design of which was sometimes playful, sometimes sophisticated, but always beautifully executed.
Revisiting this in Hong Kong, they have created a truly omnichannel shopping experience with a concept that allows the retailer to showcase its full inventory of curated collections in a much smaller footprint, but with an equally luxurious in-store experience. Designed to catch the attention a younger audience, customers can choose how they shop, collections are available in the store. They can also shop via screens in the windows or in-store, they can also seek the help of personal shoppers either in person or virtually from wherever they are in the world.
They’ve also worked with the retailer on stores in other locations; in Doha the opulent 7,400 sqm store features large panels of beautiful and precisely selected precious stones, and in the UK they redesigned the 2,200 sqm international womenswear floor at Harvey Nichols iconic Knightsbridge flagship. The space has a true boutique feel where brands are able to express their own style within the Harvey Nichols contemporary canvas. In Liverpool they designed the first ever Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols – alongside the plethora of beauty brands, there is a floor dedicated to treatments and personal shopping and even a champagne bar – a place to see and be seen. This was 2012, and it shows how Studio Four IV were ahead of the game in combining hospitality and beauty in retail. And as in their reinvention of Harvey Nichols Hong Kong store, it’s a further example demonstrating that they truly understand what the luxury consumer wants from a retail experience.
Their concept for Lotte in Suwon in South Korea achieves distinction between departments. Here the change in material of the canopies and flooring are more obvious in helping customers navigate the space. We love the references to other locales; with a food hall inspired by London’s Borough Market and a sports department set around a running track.
Working at the value end of the market with Tesco’s F+F, they demonstrated their dexterity, as their design for F+F’s standalone stores, gave the fast fashion supermarket brand a more sophisticated look, to position it as a credible fashion destination.
Mandarin Oriental’s hotel in Taipei must be the most luxurious and indulgent of all their projects. Their concepts for the reception lounges, retail, ballrooms and other areas of the French-inspired design, along with the sumptuous choice of materials, colour and lighting, can only be described as exquisite. Studio Four IV has also undertaken numerous branding and graphics projects both for the hotel group and other clients such as The Four Seasons Hotel and The East India Company, all executed with the same level of beauty and refinement.
Their discerning selection and use of materials equally evident in their design of the luxurious wine boutique and bar for Oeno. Located in London’s Royal Exchange, they have created the perfect space for the fine wine investment house to host its clients and introduce their brand to a wider audience of casual wine drinkers and potential investors.
More recently they have turned their talents to luxury private residences, designing both the spaces and creating bespoke fixtures and furniture. An exciting new venture for the company.
Unlike many of its international counterparts in the luxury sector, who produce what one might call ‘bland chic’, each of Studio Four IV’s projects is very individual and identifiable, and their use of materials and textures is always aesthetically pleasing, a joy to experience.
Given the scale of the projects that they undertake, one may imagine that their studio is bigger than the small team they employ, but the projects they work on demonstrate that they must be an extremely cohesive and fastidious team, to produce the quality and excellence in the work that they do. With Studio Four IV, the whole is (definitely) greater than the sum of its parts.