British American Tobacco is opening experimental interiors at its London head office, as the tobacco giant continues to seek ways to express its brand through 3D and sensory means.
BAT has commissioned a series of branded environments – designed by Geometry – for the company’s own marketing department, in an attempt to define brand values ‘in a direct and tangible way’, says Geometry director Mark Smith.
‘We started with the notion of the design language that applies to each strategic brand and replicated that within zones in the office,’ explains Smith. ‘The environment for premium brands is more indulgent and rich, whereas Lucky Strike, for example, has a more urban [aesthetic].’
There are three key brand environments within the space. The space dedicated to Dunhill, which is explored in a ‘luxury modern meeting place’, features handcrafted dark wood display cabinets, red leather and stainless steel seating, and an aroma unit that releases smells associated with the brand, such as leather and cedar wood.
The group is ‘looking for sensory signatures for the different brands’, says Smith.
The Kent brand is represented by an audio-visual tunnel, which features ‘futuristic’ lighting, while Lucky Strike is represented as an urban chill-out zone, with retro seating – including Eero Aarnio’s 1966 Globe chair, contemporary art and a floor made from recycled industrial rubber.
According to Smith the work will not be rolled out to consumer-facing spaces at this stage, but he acknowledges that ‘retail and consuming environments’ are important to the brand.
‘After packaging, environment [design] is the second most effective medium for cigarette brands to reach consumers, and the same principles apply to consumer spaces we might create,’ he says.