The jury met at central London on November 3rd to review the long-listed entries from an impressive selection of innovative and dynamic retail project entries from around the globe.

The jury were instructed to consider excellence in design, originality in the use of space and materials, and quality in executing the total concept for each project.

The day resulted in the judges selecting a shortlist of six stunning projects from Paris, Australia, the USA, Denmark, and two from the UK – a truly international line up! There were many positive comments about the quality of the work submitted from all the architects and designers on the long-list.

Here’s a summary of the judges’ comments during the day:

Hermès Store – RDAI’s Hermès Store in Paris built on the site of the Lutétia swimming pool, a listed building since 2005. The Art Deco pool in the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés underwent varied and diverse uses until its transformation by Parisian architects RDAI.

The panel all admired this entry, and unanimously agreed that it was a beautifully designed high-end store. Hanegraaf commented on the fabulous lighting executed by lighting consultant L'Observatoire International and the flexibility of the design, “The beauty of this project is that it could be easily updated by moving or adapting the ‘pods’ – it’s an exclusive store and the design reflects that.”

Open Lounge, Raiffeisen’s flagship branch on Zurich’s Kreuzplatz is a new type of ‘open bank’, that caught the jury’s attention as a project that had “taken a very traditional activity and moved it along in terms of design, the end result is something very interesting and significantly different.”

Adjacent to the Old Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Tsvetnoy Central Market was widely admired by the jury. They felt the ceiling was “slightly overpowering” but overall they liked the design and agreed that it ‘did its job incredibly well’ – the jury would love to have seen the before picture as they suspect it was probably a “big empty, cold space” that had been successfully transformed.

The Apple retail store located at Inigo Jones' market square in London's West End, also went down well with the jury, especially Hanegraaf: “There is some synergy between this building and the store in Regent Street creating brand awareness between the two stores.” Symes said the same applied to the store in the meatpacking district of New York. What Griffiths liked about this project was that: “It’s so simple, this building is so restrained that it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the products within, beautifully and confidently executed.”

Pusateri’s gourmet food store in Toronto by GHA Designs was a considered an excellent solution for a mid-market store. “Nothing particularly new, but very nicely executed.”

Kate Spade New York’s flagship store in Aoyama, Japan by Kramer Design Group reflects the playfully yet chic character of the Kate Spade Brand. Visitors enter though a tall show window, which displays current season merchandise and acts as an introduction to the brand lifestyle. The jury was intrigued by the oversized framed lacquered green doors and felt that overall it “represents the brand very well, and was an original and charming design.”

Xocolatti, premium chocolate brand flagship store in New York, designed by De-Spec was very popular with the jury. Symes said: “What I love about it is that it is viewing chocolates as a precious commodity worth having, almost like a safety deposit box.” The concept for the 150sq ft. space lies in the custom-designed walls: floor-to-ceiling bronze shelving systems that are based on the multiple variations of the different sizes of the green and brown chocolate boxes. Customers choose their favorite chocolate boxes and take it out of the wall

resulting in multiple patterns at the end of each day. Hanegraaf said: “I like the idea that it transforms during the day, and engaging and fun idea, a clever use of space, and a very cool concept.”

Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design’s concept for Pristine Fine Cleaning in downtown Princeton, NJ, represents a departure from your conventional dry cleaning operation, “The nicest dry cleaners I have ever seen, original and memorable,” commented the judges.

Top Outlet Store, in Spain by Beguiristain Bergera Architects is a small store of 40sq m, located on a pedestrian covered pass. Symes opened up the discussion with: “Really elegantly done, very little product on display, but the use of space is very cleverly executed.” The jury was slightly confused by the term ‘Outlet Store’ for what appeared to be an upmarket and exclusive feel to the store. But overall they admired the scheme.

Coffee takes centre stage at Small Batch Coffee Company, a charming and beautifully designed coffee shop in East Sussex, UK. The key to this delightful project is the attention to detail from the architectural salvaged walls, floors and counters, to the antique brass shelf brackets, glass shelves & brass edged light fittings add a sparkle and lustre to offset the rich timber textures. “As soon as I saw this I wanted a cup of coffee,” said Symes who, along with Hanegraaf, had also checked out Chalk Architecture’s website and agreed that they had a great portfolio of projects.

“When I read the values and qualities of the brand, this just fitted in with those values,” Symes added: “There is this amazing feature where it looks like they have used plumbing pipe to display the filters, how clever is that?” Hannegraaf goes on to say: “This project is very graphic, very brand rich.” Symes elaborates: “The architects have been inventive, rather than just throwing money at it – it just goes to show that even in a recession and trading in a very competitive market, with excellent design and an good product you can still be successful.”

Landini Associates was commissioned to create an International Brand Strategy, and Retail Concept following Jurlique’s acquisition by an international consortium. Jurlique is a botanical skin care brand originating from Australia and the theme of this new store is “bring the farm to the customer”. Symes particularly liked this project: “Like the chocolate shop, the product looks precious and inviting. I love it because it is neither feminine nor masculine, it would appeal to everyone. Very elegantly done.”

Concept store Playtype in Copenhagen is the first store selling the brand's established online fonts. E-types interior takes its cue from the monochrome palette, featuring oversized fonts on windows and walls. Hanegraaf was very enthusiastic about e-types designs: “I like this a lot, I’m a big fan of typography and this store is fun and enticing.” Symes agreed: “I love it, it’s very, very cool an inviting, beautiful store that will appeal to both designers and the general public.”

The jury agreed on the final shortlisted projects:

Hermès, Paris; Apple Store, London; Xocolatti, New York; Small Batch Coffee, UK; Jurlique, Australia; and Playtype, Copenhagen.

They were also unanimous on the winner of the Retail Interior project greater than 200sq m: RDAI’s Hermès, Paris for its beautifully executed and sensitive solution of an important building, and because the design was ‘totally original’.

There was more discussion on the choice of winner for the Small Retail Interior. In the end it was between Small Batch Coffee Shop by Chalk Architecture and E-TYPES Playtype, the ‘typography lifestyle store’ in Copenhagen.

Eventually it was decided to give the first prize to Playtype for its ‘transformative’ design and the promotion of the brand though the retail concept. However, all the jury agreed that Small Batch would also have been a very worthy winner.

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