Monday, 23 April 2018 15:18

A flagship showroom

    Heritage furniture and interiors brand Heal’s opened its first store in Birmingham with a showroom designed by award-winning design company, Office Twelve.

    Located in the Mailbox, Birmingham’s premier shopping and lifestyle destination, the new store is Heal’s regional flagship for the Midlands.

    The Mailbox unveiled its new 20,000ft² homewares section on Level 1 of the shopping centre, and Heal’s full product portfolio is available to touch and try before buying online, in-store or at home.

    Within a restricted fixed budget and short lead time, the brief demanded a show-stopping, evolving pop-up space designed to delight visitors and promote Heal’s premium retail offer. The state-of-the-art showroom would showcase Heal’s online best-sellers, driving traffic towards the full offer and encouraging online purchasing.

    Office Twelve designed and made bespoke furniture and displays to echo the premium Heal’s brand throughout the experience – showrooming contemporary furniture, a home fragrance area, lighting, chair bar, soft furnishings and upholstery.

    An online browse bar encourages customers to discover the entire Heal’s offer. Store staff carry hand-held devices to take customers to the Heal’s website and guide them through the much wider ranges available online.

    The showroom space is simple yet sophisticated, featuring unpretentious materials in eye-catching contemporary forms to complement Heal’s superbly edited collections.

    Every moment of the showroom customer journey is designed to delight visitors with carefully curated displays and touchpoints. Highlights from Heal’s new collection feature alongside best-sellers from brands such as Vitra, Case and Tom Dixon. Classics like the iconic Eames chair are elevated to hero status through subtle staging and lighting.

    “Our Mailbox showroom offers the finest in furniture design from Heal’s as well as internationally -recognised designers and brands,” Heal’s Chief Executive Hamish Mansbridge said.

    “The shop itself will be a unique retail space that will bring the best of our online offering to Birmingham.

    “Birmingham is now recognised as one of the top shopping destinations in the UK, so Birmingham City Centre and the Mailbox are the perfect platform for Heal’s to promote its premium retail offering within a hugely popular lifestyle location which is well accessible to the wider Midlands region and its incoming visitors.”

    In keeping with Heal’s ethos of good design, well made, the simplicity of the store design is shrewdly deceptive. High-quality finishing is apparent everywhere, with honest materials expertly crafted by hand.

    Hamish continues: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Heal’s, giving us a new regional flagship store in the Midlands. This significant move shows the desire of local residents for beautiful, well-made pieces of furniture that will stand the test of time.

    The concept

    The challenge for delivering the Mailbox Showroom concept was to provide a premium experience on a limited pop-up budget. The execution needed to convey the quality and heritage of a highly-established brand into a new market audience that may not be aware of Heal’s.

    The concept was based around the Heal’s ‘ticking pattern’ brand identity with a contemporary twist. The goal was to elevate chosen products amid the strong VM as key Heal’s callouts, and to establish a design language to highlight the brand within a large open-plan, multibrand showroom.

    The solution was to minimise costs by using honest materials in simple and effective ways. Laminated marble, matte linoleum, brushed brass and ash onto plywood and coloured MDF were cut into shapes formed from the Heal’s ‘ticking pattern’ identity. This way, each sheet of timber was used with minimum wastage, and an honest approach saw the edge of the structural material clearly visible.

    The ticking pattern informed the visual identity for each fixture, and Office Twelve used the Heal’s blue colour as a callout to help the customer identify the brand. This bold use of colour was an evolution from Heal’s existing stores, and helps to make the brand feel premium and contemporary.

    High-quality finishing pushed the boundaries on concealing fixings on hooks, shelves and furniture, further conveying a detailed, premium, simple, yet cost-effective solution across the store.

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