On my visit back to Birmingham at the beginning of November I got to see the end results in the drive of the retail sector drumming up business in Birmingham. The big developments being, Grand Central (the new train station) which you can read here and in my last post I wrote about the other big retail development in Birmingham the Mailbox.
Harvey Nichols, the department store was the first place up for promotion in the Mailbox. The top brand store was relocated from its position of front of house of the Mailbox to further back in the building. The addition of the Urban Room in the Mailbox draws your eye right down the centre to the new Harvey Nics. Harvey Nics is hardly ‘lost’ in its new location its entrance wrapped with black polished façade and a huge screen above and the interior entrance enveloped with interchanging lighting drawing you in to the store. The new store has doubled its space with integrated technology, being just one of the benefits for customers along with a concierge service. The new design was done by design firm Virgile + Partners from London. Unlike your traditional Harvey Nics the Birmingham store has a twist in concept with the key idea behind the design being “controlled disruption.”
It’s definitely more creative, modern and unusual with eye catching visual merchandising displays layered on the hard polished materials used within store. I loved the unique displays for the Christmas period installed very different but still cool and elegant. The footwear area is a place of interest, showcasing the top known names in open steel modular frames with the smooth white concrete wall as its canvas. The different brand areas are distinguished between each other by the use of area rugs. Traditional area rugs in contrast with the modern take of the materials used for the interiors, adding a quirky touch for a more boutique like feel which I like as its brings in some warmth and fun to the store. It’s well laid out as well all on the one floor without feeling empty or cluttered. I think it’s a clever way of approaching the design boutique but almost department store with such creative elements both interior design and technology. I love visiting retail spaces for inspiration for layouts materials and I think that the Birmingham store is definitely a place of inspiration. It won Retail Week Interior Award for Best Department Store last month.
Follow The Lead
Also included is the brand new bar in which you can access from upstairs on the restaurant level of the Mailbox. A nice cocktail along with your shopping trip, pleasure plus pleasure you can’t go wrong! They also have a nail bar too. Apparently the Birmingham store is being used as the blue print model for the undergoing refurbishment of the Knightsbridge store in London. We’ll see if the concept of the Birmingham design can transfer easily to the extensive space London. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the London Harvey Nichols turns out. Will be heading to the Knightsbridge store once that’s been completed and will tell you all about here!
(All photos taken by Chloe Dominik)