New Product Worlds

Good design appeals to customers – product range and lifestyle combine to form their own cosmos in the designing of current showrooms.

Design concepts in the retail sector have for a long time had to do more than simply present well-arranged merchandise. That is why attention is clearly focussed on the interior in addition to the products. Good design appeals to customers and conveys at the same time the identity of the respective brands. Not only the product range reflects modern social trends – for example, the spread of technology in our everyday life, a holistic approach to design or a new appreciation of what is natural. Such current tendencies are also manifested in the furnishings concepts themselves.

The combination of technology and lifestyle is paradigmatic of this. Thus for selling the latest everyday technical devices, colourful worlds are designed that give dealing with the technology offered a more comprehensive and livelier aura. In addition, an aesthetic that has been shaped by technology also appears where other products are involved, for example clothing. Radiant white, ultra-shiny surfaces and new materials that have become familiar from computers or smartphones characterise this trend.

Another direction is becoming apparent, one that is similarly clean or, in contrast, excessively colourful and detailed: those flagship stores and showrooms in which merchandise and space merge into a single context. The aesthetic of the products returns in the furnishings and architecture and creates its own harmonious cosmos with an avant-garde or cheerfully exaggerated design. The personality of the brand becomes the crucial element and imprints itself in the memory.

More reserved on the other hand are often the interiors of those brands that focus on the new naturalness. Here, simple but selective materials encounter contemporary and clear design. As a result, more and more frequently there are furnishings that are made partly or completely from recycled objects and materials. Found objects are used as furniture, resulting in a surprising ambience in the new context. In one way or another, increased attention is being paid to materiality and surface effect especially where – this also a characteristic of today's retail design – the various trends overlap. One development makes sense: a beautifully designed environment reflects the quality of the products themselves. Incidentally, this has long been true worldwide: design down to the last detail has become established as the all-encompassing language. Which by no means implies bland conformity, but on the contrary: the individuality of an interior, whether it is in London, Rome, New York, Beijing or Seoul, is becoming all the more important.

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge.