Like so many of our readers, the VMSD team made the trek to Düsseldorf, Germany, this past March 5-9, 2017, to attend EuroShop – coined “The World’s No. 1 Trade Fair” – the triennial trade show and conference dedicated to the visual merchandising and retail design industries. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the show, organizers Messe Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf, Germany) offered up no fewer than 18 halls packed with the latest tools and technologies available to store design and VM professionals.
A record 113,000 attendees from 138 countries visited 2368 exhibitors representing 61 nations across 1.36 million square feet of exhibition space. “We could not be happier with the trade visitor breakdown,” says Hans Werner Reinhard, managing director, Messe Düsseldorf. “We are recording a constantly high level of demand from Germany and a significant rise in interest from abroad.”
Before the show opened Sunday, March 5, participants in the “euro a go go” road trip toured the Villa Hugel estate in Essen, Germany, a short bus ride from Düsseldorf. The 269-room mansion was built by the Krupp family in 1873 as a private residence and is now a historical landmark open to the public and maintained by a not-for-profit foundation. The beautiful, expansive grounds create a park-like backdrop for the residence, which today represents the history of the famous German industrialist family. (This would be the only day of our time in Düsseldorf where we’d enjoy sunny, blue skies. Before long, we’d be dodging rain – even hail – running from building to building at the “Messe,” as it’s known.)
Go go participants began each day in Düsseldorf with an educational session during breakfast, with speakers ranging from VMSD Editorial Advisor/New York Editor Eric Feigenbaum to Kathryn Largent, global director of visual merchandising, Skechers. An exclusive “go go speak” luncheon offered additional educational opportunities during the show, as well as a welcome break to grab a bite.
Speakers, including Professor of Communication Design and author Phil Rainer Zimmerman, Red Dot Founder and CEO Peter Zec and Chief Creative Officer of th13teen (and International Retail Design Conference 2016 keynote presenter) riCardo Crespo, each shared insights on retail, design and branding with the audience during the luncheon. An excellent Q&A session following the main presentations brought forth an equally valuable discussion among panelists and the audience.
Mid-week, EHI Retail Institute (Köln, Germany) and VMSD hosted an evening retailers-only reception on the 16th floor of the hotel Innside Düsseldorf Hafen, which boasts a spectacular 360-degree view of the city and the Rhine River. Attendees enjoyed conversation, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in an elegant setting away from the crowds on the floor.
After the final day of the show, a smaller group of about 60 retailers, designers and architects continued on to Copenhagen, Denmark, with euro a go go, to begin a four-day tour of this design-centric city. This portion of the tour would be packed with cultural activities, showrooms and museum visits, as well as the opportunity to visit burgeoning retail in the heart of the city.
Renowned for its contributions to lighting and furniture design, Copenhagen offers countless opportunities to experience some of the most innovative work being done in both disciplines. Go go attendees were lucky enough to hear from the designers behind many iconic works at eye-catching showrooms like Louis Poulsen, Engelbrechts, Eric Joergensen, Paustian and Normann Copenhagen.
In addition to talks from these designers, we visited the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) for a presentation from Michael Linander, global head of retail operations at quintessentially Danish retailer Flying Tiger Copenhagen. Linander shared the history of the brand, which began with a single, family-owned store with a simple pricing policy: Everything cost 10 kroners. Since its humble beginnings, the Flying Tiger business has evolved into a global effort to bring Danish design to the masses at an affordable price, and boasts 700 stores in 30 countries. Later, we’d visit two locations to see the retailer’s eclectic mix of fun and practical products.
Another standout retailer, Hay House, is a short climb up a flight of stairs into a sunny, comfortable space overlooking Amagertorv square and the Strøget Street shopping district. The brand sells contemporary home furnishings at an accessible price point for young, urban residents of Copenhagen’s notoriously small apartments. An entire room, dubbed the Hay Mini Market, is devoted to stationery, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers and storage for all of the above – for those of us who haven’t let go of their school supply obsession.
The go go tour itinerary took us to the grounds of the historic Carlsberg Brewery, which moved out of the space in 2008. The area is currently being transformed into Carlsberg Byen, or Carlsberg Town, a mixed-use development that will feature residential, retail and office space.
The group also enjoyed a guided open-air boat tour on the canal that winds its way through the city – an excellent way to see the impressive architecture and public art along Copenhagen’s harbor waterfront. The skyline is a blend of large, imposing, formal buildings like Amalienborg Palace, home to the Danish royal family, museums and many other historic attractions; as well as modern works like The Black Diamond, a black granite monolith that sparkles with the reflection of the water in its windows.
EuroShop 2020 will be held Feb. 16-20, 2020, in Düsseldorf, Germany. The go go group is already hard at work on the euro a go go 2020 agenda with dates to be announced in the near future. Stay tuned to VMSD for future coverage of EuroShop, euro a go go and asia a go go.