Samsonite Europe (Oudenaarde, Belgium) decided it was time to distinguish itself from other luggage retailers. One strategy was to appeal to a younger audience by developing a new casual luggage collection for the European market. The other idea involved a new store design concept.
“They wanted to be more distinctive and get more people excited about traveling,” says Marc Vermeulen, architect of The Netherlands-based- Kuó Studio BV Interior & Retail Design, which designed the space.
That effort is on display inside the 1200-square-foot Brussels, Belguim, flagship concept, where new materials, lighting and a color palette of warm browns and sky-blues bring the brand to life.
Upon entering the store, customers notice an all-white feature wall made from cubes of alternating depths with LED lighting highlighting the new collections and handbags. To the left, four flatscreens are combined to create one large 92-inch screen, which plays the company’s latest commercials. Four iPads are also available for customers to browse Samsonite’s full product offering.
Among the new materials are olive veneer wood shelving and light blue tile flooring with a banana leaf pattern. An LED-lit wall graphic, depicting “the speed of light,” sits directly behind the product shelving. “It gives a rich feel and creates a silhouette for the product,” says Vermeulen.
To celebrate the heritage of the brand, the swirl of Samsonite logo was enlarged into a hanging light sculpture above the entryway. Two large windows bring natural light into the space, while a combination of LED and fluorescent lighting does the rest of work illuminating the store. (Going forward, the retailer plans to roll out LED-only concepts throughout Europe.)
“In the end, the product is king,” Vermeulen says. “With each interchangeable shelf, product is lit from the front and gets the attention it needs.”
Retailer: Samsonite Europe, Oudenaarde, Belgium
Design Firm and Architect: Kuóstudio BV Interior & Retail Design, Honselersdijk, The Netherlands
Marc Vermeulen, architect
Shopfitting: Vizona GmbH, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Photography: Max Schulz, Mülheim a/d Ruhr, Germany