Timberland, London

On a quest to create a unified brand statement, Timberland tests a new prototype in London.
Posted February 21, 2012


The nearly 40-year-old Timberland has brought its outdoor retail brand across the globe, growing to more than 1100 retail and franchise stores in 90 countries. With a goal to further expand its retail presence, the New England-based retailer set out to re-imagine its retail experience with a new prototype design that would “bring to life not only the brand’s New England heritage but also viscerally bring the outdoors indoors,” says Bevan Bloemendaal, Timberland’s senior director, global creative services.

The intent was to create a premium brand environment that was recognized globally. The brand also wanted to recruit new consumers, specifically younger shoppers, as well as continue growing its appeal to women, says Bloemendaal. “The concept was created to engage the consumers at an emotional level, encouraging them to be inspired by the outdoors and to feel equipped with Timberland gear to get them out there and enjoy their outdoor experiences,” he says.

A prototype store in London’s new Westfield Stratford City mall showcases that effort. To emphasize the brand’s rugged New England provenance, but within the confines of a mall, designers introduced a “box within a box” concept that frames the product on the inside while offering views to the outdoors through a series of apertures. The box, which is visible from the mall thanks to a double-height glass façade, serves as “an invitation to step into the outdoors,” according to David Dalziel, creative director at London-based design consultancy

Dalziel+Pow, which worked with Timberland to create the interior.
Illuminated landscapes line the perimeter with portals that allow views of outdoor experiences and landscape vistas. Skylights break up the timber ceiling and flood the space with daylight. An abstract black wooden tree, imitative of the Timberland logo and with branches that extend across the width of the 2500-square-foot store, acts as a frame that manifests Dalziel’s outdoors “invitation.”

Throughout the Stratford location, designers utilized a variety of materials ranging from metals and different wood finishes to stone pebbles on top of the mid-shop and perimeter display fixtures. While wood predominates, it has a lighter look and feel than in past Timberland stores, which were much “darker and more masculine,” says Bloemendaal. It’s also worth noting that the women’s offer has been placed at the front of the store – a further mark of intent about where the brand is headed.

Digital technology also plays an important role in this store, says Bloemendaal. For instance, oversized digital screens at the front play images from the latest seasonal campaign, while touchscreens are integrated into store fixtures to enable customers to learn about products and the brands’ outreach efforts. Shoppers can also sit down at a computer and design their own boots or boat shoes.

One of the most eye-catching features in this prototype is a metal block that takes center stage in the storefront window. Three faucets protruding from this block provide a continuous stream of water that pours onto the Timberland shoes below, demonstrating the all-weather quality of the merchandise, as well as lending a kinetic element to the display.

The prototype concept is being tested in the U.K., Singapore and China, with another location planned for Sweden during the first quarter of 2012. “We want to know how consumers are engaging with the store,” says Bloemendaal, “and if we’re pushing the needle in terms of broadening our appeal to women.”

Once the Stockholm location opens, Timberland plans to gather post-consumer reviews and analysis before launching a global rollout of the new prototype.


Project Suppliers

Retailer: Timberland, Stratham, N.H.

Design: Dalziel+Pow Design Consultants, London

Ceilings: Anglo ERI, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, U.K.; Soltech-system, Maidenhead, Berkshire, U.K.

Fixtures: Visplay, Allentown, Pa.

In-Store Interactive digital: Apologue Experience Design Firm, New York; Automata Studios, Silver Spring, Md.

Mannequins/Forms: Fusion Mannequins, Broomfield, Colo.

Window water display: Green Room, Birmingham, U.K.

Signage/Graphics: Stylo Graphics, Watford, Hertfordshire, U.K.; Timberland Global Creative Services, Stratham, N.H.

Photography: Andrew Townsend, Dalziel and Pow, London