O2 has taken another step forward in its ambitious UK retail design plan, with the appointment of Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture.
The New York architect and digital consultancy has been appointed to create a retail concept that will be rolled out to all of O2’s 442 stores in the UK by the end of this year.
JPDA, which has also worked on the O2 experience store in Greenwich, clinched the retail contract in the face of competition from Checkland Kindleysides, Household and MacKay & Partners.
Deborah Boyd-Evans, UK store design and strategy manager for O2, says that it ‘wasn’t a given’ that JPDA would be appointed.
‘We really only invited the group to pitch because it was involved in the experience store and it was the right thing to do,’ she says.
O2 is currently in the process of putting the finishing touches to the design concept and finalising costings in conjunction with JPDA.
‘We’re still working through these elements and hope to be finished by the end of this week,’ says Boyd-Evans.
The retail store will be very different to the O2 experience store, reveals Boyd-Evans.
‘It’s a completely different target market. There’s lots of “demo-ing” going on at the experience store. It’s the right environment for that sort of thing with the music, and feedback from the public has been great. But the retail store will be very different,’ she says, declining to elaborate further.
The idea for the retail store is to create a social hub, where customers can spend time away from home. It is expected to have more in common with coffee chains such as Starbucks than it will with the traditional mobile store format.
‘We wanted to do something completely different. It’s not just about handset acquisition, it’s about building emotional connections and brand loyalty,’ says Boyd-Evans.
The news comes soon after the launch of Nokia’s eighth global flagship in London, designed by US consultancy Eight Inc, the group responsible for London’s Apple Store on Regent Street.
O2 has traditionally eschewed the idea of flagship stores for its retail estate, in favour of a more universal approach.
• JPDA has a long history with American Apparel, having worked on three of its flagship stores, including one in the UK, as well as a showroom and pavilion for the brand
• It also specialises in digital media and exhibition design, and has recently worked with artist Melanie Crean on her installation The Luminists, on show in New York