Student and young person’s independent travel agent STA Travel is opening its first flagship store. The design is a joint effort between Tim Heard & Associates and First Partnership.
The 325m2 outlet on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue opens on 6 April. If successful, the concept will roll out to the 46-strong UK chain, although its 200 overseas sites are unlikely to be changed, says an STA Travel spokeswoman. Up to five new stores are planned for the UK in the next year, which will get the new designs.
London Group Tim Heard & Associates is the client’s overall design and image consultant and did not have to pitch for the job. Art director Tim Heard sees STA Travel’s competition as Campus Travel. “[STA Travel] is trying to have a high impact on areas which are not campus-based,” says Heard. He researched the project in New York last year and briefed First Partnership on the interiors.
First Partnership associate director Peter Champion says: “We have created a dramatic environment with a neutral palette of materials so that the juicy bits like the graphics can sing.” A floating translucent raft features in the corridor.
A second big site in central London is in the pipeline, according to the STA Travel spokeswoman, and, although the current logo has been retained, it may be reviewed in the future, she adds.