Habitat launches new flagship store at Westfield London

Created by in-house designers, the store aims to have an “immersive” feel to help customers imagine products in their own homes.

Update 12 November 2018: A new Habitat flagship store has now opened in North Street, Brighton, designed by the furniture chain’s in-house studio. The new stand-alone store, which spans two floors and has around 3,000 products on display, follows the same design concept as the Westfield London store.

The interior design is “stripped back” to keep the focus on the products, according to Matthew Long, senior designer for Habitat, with key features including a cobalt blue metal stairwell, a “dramatic” lightning installation and exposed brick walls painted white, creating an “industrial vibe”.

Habitat has launched a new flagship store at Westfield London, which is its first standalone shop in 10 years and the third largest in the UK.

The new 437 square-metre furniture store has been designed by Habitat own in-house design studio. It forms part of the shopping centre’s new “home” hub which brings together homeware retailers.

The new shop is designed to have a “minimalist” feel, following on from the 2016 redesign of Habitat’s Tottenham Court Road store, providing a base to show off the 1,400 products on offer. It is set out in an “immersive” layout to help customers envisage the products at home, according to Habitat.

Matthew Long, senior designer at Habitat, says the store is “designed as a calm, inspiring environment where customers can browse products at their leisure.”

In a bid to encourage customers to take in the products with “minimal visual distractions”, Long says the interior design has been “stripped right back” with no “large digital screens, imposing fixtures or dramatic architectural details.”

He says that the shop has been built “around a white cube framework that allows us to layer a variety of products, bright colours, shapes and patterns on top without making it visually overwhelming for customers.”

Much of the store has light, natural oak flooring, picked to help customers imagine the products which include sofas and upholstery, in their own homes, according to Habitat. The front of the store has checkerboard flooring, designed to highlight Habitat’s colourful products.

An industrial framework surrounds the window display, which is used to offer a look inside the store through three-framed “Instagram squares”, allowing people to see the full displays without interruption.

The framework continues throughout the store, with black and white shelves used for displaying products.

Parts of the store are set out to look like rooms as they may do in a customer’s home, incorporating rugs, furniture, lamps and ornaments on sale at the store in the designs.

A key design feature is a 60-piece raft installation that aims to make the store feel more “inviting” and “domestic” according to Habitat, while also breaking up the height of the store.

Amy Rich, visual merchandising manager, says: “Both architecture and visual merchandising has been devised to draw the eye into the store from the main shopping mall walkways, starting with a wall of bold colour and pattern and being led through by the undulating design of the raft design at different ceiling levels, emerging at a dramatic, full height lighting installation at the back of store.

“We’ve purposely created a modern market-place feel with abundant, informal stacks of tactile products placed throughout this journey, to encourage customers to touch and feel designs as well as naturally flow through the space.”

While 65% of Habitat sales now originate online, according to the store, Clare Askem, managing director of Habitat adds: “Alongside good digital growth we’ve seen a great reaction to our store format trials, which allow customers to interact with our products in different retail environments.

“Westfield London will be our first large format store to offer customers a new immersive Habitat shopping experience within a major shopping mall.”

She says it is aimed at those who want to access a variety of retailers, ranging across home, entertainment and fashion in one place.

A second flagship store will open in November in Brighton City Centre in the Brighton Lanes shopping centre. It will span two floors, feature around 3,000 products and have an events and workshops space.

Habitat, which was founded in 1964, which a design-led company which aims to make products for the home “accessible to all” according to the organisation.

All photographs ©Dunja Opalko, courtesy of Habitat

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