Almacenes Paris

Young, Colorful and Fashionable
Posted September 27, 2005

Almacenes Paris, one of South America's oldest and best department store retailers, felt it needed to update its store design to further solidify and attract a younger customer base, a force in today's Latin American consumer market.

RYA Design Consultancy (Dallas) was retained to take on this challenge: change the visual impression of Almacenes, turning it into more of a fashion department store.

The three-level, 150,000-square-foot store prototype opened in Santiago's La Florida district, combining the use of bold lifestyle-graphic billboards, lighting and splashes of color to create a dynamic visual language that speaks to a younger customer base.

At major mall entrances, such as in the cosmetics and fragrance department, the ceiling features suspended translucent arched panels with compact fluorescent light tubes. "We created an almost theatrical stage concept," says Tom Herndon, RYA's partner and ceo.

Square columns dominate the space, becoming a signature identity for the store. "The columns were seen as the signposts of the store to tell a story," says Herndon. "Some columns are lighted, and all can take a graphic or color panel."

Colorful lifestyle graphics, some of which are backlit, were also used as a visual beacon to draw customers through the store. The 16-foot-high perimeter walls challenged the retailer's visual merchandising team to use the space graphically. Large billboard graphics function as department or brand identification as well as lifestyle impressions.

Product is showcased via simple yet functional modular fixture systems. "Sophisticated fixture solutions are present on the perimeter walls, but they are minimally scaled and designed to incorporate the graphics," says Herndon.

Also notable in the store are the blue back-painted glass panels that announce the escalator core. This bright blue reflects the branded signature color for Almacenes Paris.

Client: Almacenes Paris, Santiago, Chile
Alvaro Valdes, general manager
Maria Pia Rosso, project manager

Design: RYA Design Consultancy, Dallas
Tom Herndon, partner and ceo
Jeff Henderson, senior associate/project director

Photography: Alfredo Gildemeister, Santiago, Chile