Fixture Trends: Bringing the Outside In

Nods to nature dominate this year’s store fixturing trends
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Posted August 25, 2020

This summer, fixture motifs drawing inspiration from biophilic designs, as well as organic shapes, are going strong across retail spaces from New York to Shanghai. Beyond just a pretty shelf to display product, fixtures have continued to embrace a more artsy aesthetic during the past few years, remaining functional yet adding to the larger retail narrative.


Photography: Edward Caruso, New York

LIGHTEN UP
For the new shop-in-shop design for footwear brand Sam Edelman in Macy’s Herald Square in New York, Christian Lahoude Studio (New York) took the reins. “We created a concept that draws on the American designer’s fascination with the timeless sport of equestrianism,” reveals Christian Lahoude, Founder and Creative Director.

“The dynamics of this retail experience are defined by a horse’s graceful movements in its natural environment, a motif that the team translated into a series of circular displays in varying heights.” Customers can wander through the central space, “a golden triangle” with green tufted poufs and mirrors, to interact with the product. There is a spectrum of transparency and opacity in the materials, mimicking the light and dark of stables.


Photography: Edward Caruso, New York

“To further the field effect, glowing glass discs linked with LEDs rise and fall alongside green discs that are suspended from a golden grass-like structure. The golden rods and circular displays, both in plan and elevation, call on the Art Nouveau style, imbibed with whip-like motifs,” says Lahoude. The effect is evocative, calling on 20th century glamour and the refined nature of a high-society sport – the perfect fit for the product.


Photography: Creatar Images, Shanghai

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
In Shanghai, Wutopia Lab (Shanghai) “decided to create a modern Chinese garden on the 52nd floor of Shanghai Tower, with the sky and the city below [as] part of the design.” Meant to simulate standing on a mountain, watching the spectacular Huangpu River as it twists and turns, the bookstore dubbed Books Over the Clouds represents a meeting of natural and manufactured, light and dark, East and West, “interdependent yet competing with each other,” says Yu Ting, Founder and Chief Architect, Wutopia Lab.


Photography: Creatar Images, Shanghai

In the white study, arched shelves act like bridges across the river, through which readers can spot the trees that line the floor and the clouds beyond. In the black study, rings of LEDs are filled with spotlights, like stars in the night sky, highlighting the product. Glass walls surround the store, offering shoppers a window to the world.


Photography: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.

THE BEATEN PATH
For the reimagining of Saks Fifth Avenue’s 8th Floor – the destination for designer shoes in New York – design studio Highland Associates (New York), in a collaborative effort with Hudson’s Bay Co. (Brampton, Canada) and Saks’ store design team, drew on the striking dichotomy of the city and surrounding parkland.


Photography: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.

“Manhattan as a presence means a lot to this space. The center of the floor represents Central Park, an organic showcase that customers can meander through,” explains Ian Tornquist, Associate Principal at Highland Associates. The “park” is a natural focal point with floor-to-ceiling rod fixtures that emulate trees, laser cut with natural elements like leaves. “This lends a sense of looking through the trees at the ‘cityscape’ of surrounding vendors.” Flush-to-the-floor marble slabs are reminiscent of lily pads on water, while geometric shoe displays dot the space like “rock formations, forming the spine of the 25-foot-long ‘park.’ ”

“Moments of seasons are played out in different materials and in the color palette,” says Tornquist. In a bustling city, iconic for its high rises and urban sprawl, “we wanted to register a space that has life.”


Photography: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.

As the preservation and celebration of the natural world becomes more paramount in the years ahead, we will see only organic influences on design, reflecting the reunion of the great outdoors with our urban spaces.