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Design Detail: Primark, King of Prussia, Pa.

Dublin-based value retailer Primark premieres one of its latest U.S. flagship store designs

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Concept: From across the pond to one of its first American outposts, Primark’s newly converted flagship is a whimsical departure from the “sea of merchandise” found in many shopping malls.

UNSUNG HEROES
Housed in a former Sears department store, the store’s abundance of columns presented a challenge to define distinct areas in the space. Designing shrouds around the columns, “gave them flexibility to merchandise, clip on a mirror, clip on graphics, and that was really important to [Primark] … the columns became landmarks in each of the departments,” says New York-based Kathleen Jordan, principal, Gensler (San Francisco).

SHOWSTOPPER
At a point where several of the store’s departments converge, this “digital roundabout” was a place to draw attention, break up the rows of fixtures and navigate customers through the store.  “It was one of those sweet design elements that really stuck from the beginning and set the tone for all the other insertions in the rest of the space,” says Amelia Falco, design director, Gensler.

ALL THAT GLITTERS
A shimmery bespoke chandelier – comprising more than 200 geometric elements in three different sizes and two finishes – was a small detail of the project that spoke volumes to the retailer’s vision. “This is very telling for the ethos that Primark has with regards to its respect for design,” says Jordan. “Even though they’re within the value sphere of retailers, they want to give their customers a premium experience.”

WALK THIS WAY
With the exception of the entrance, which features porcelain flooring for a glossy first impression, faux-antique vinyl flooring was used throughout for maximum durability. Using a two-tone placement method, a darker hue defines walkways for clear wayfinding. “I always defer to wanting shoppers to find their way without signage,” explains Falco, “and this was one subtle way.”

DISCREETLY DISRUPTIVE
Just as a lack of variation in fixtures can result in that endless-rows-of-racks look, the same is true for track lighting. Varying track and ceiling colors were used to break up the monotony. “We wanted to be thoughtful so it feels different in [each] area,” says Falco. “It’s not a feature that [you notice], but you sense it in your peripheral, and it helps define the space.”

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PROJECT SUPPLIERS

Retailer
Primark, Dublin

Design
Gensler, San Francisco

 

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