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Force of Nature

China-based telecommunications giant Huawei creates a relaxing, yet energized environment within its experiential Milan store




When customers enter Huawei’s (Shenzhen, China) Experience Store inside Milan’s CityLife Shopping District – a Zaha Hadid Architects’ (London) creation that opened December 2017 – they’re walking into a space that uses flexible circuit technology to transform foot traffic into visible electric energy. That energy is then displayed on a nearby column inside the telecommunications company’s more than 2100-square-foot store as a visual measurement of the power its customers generate.

With concept and creative direction by Rieti, Italy-based designer Alessandro Luciani, Huawei’s immersive customer experience strives to set a focus on innovation by incorporating tech-driven elements, such as the aforementioned energy floor system (which also feeds data to an existing behavioral analysis system), a 430-square-foot-high LED wall, and glass tables integrated with glass screen digital labels that inform shoppers about any Huawei device on display, all without interrupting the clean lines of the furniture. 

Behind a local European wood-topped recharging station, a vertical garden is embedded with flower-shaped LED screens that continuously rotate through a variety of images. Using real plants and flowers in a technology-heavy environment that’s predominantly made of glass and wood creates a relaxed feel and implements principles of bio-architecture. “The customer should experience a futuristic environment, made functional by technology, while enjoying the beauty of nature in a relaxed atmosphere of well-being,” explains Luciani.

Customers are encouraged to stay awhile and interact with Huawei’s new technology, whether that’s during one of its events, which include photography workshops that demo how to snap professional-looking shots using a Huawei smartphone; yoga workshops featuring its activity tracker; and even coffee consultations in which staffers offer up device “how-tos” and other information regarding the latest products.

Customization in retail, whether it’s leather goods, footwear, consumer electronics or even ice cream bars, has never been more popular (hat tip to Instagram). As such, Huawei has tapped into the trend with a designated  area of the store  where consumers can personalize their PCs, smartphones or tablets with tattoos, patches and other lively accessories. 



Huawei Technologies Co., Shenzhen, China

Architecture, Fixtures, Furniture, General Contractor, Props/Decoratives, Signage/Graphics
Grottini Retail Environments, Porto Recanti, Italy

Flooring, In-Store Tech
Grottini Lab, Porto Recanti, Italy

Sound Identity, Milan
Be–Happy, Trento, Italy

Barrison, Kembs, France

Mapei, Milan


Luceifero’s, Bologna, Italy

Security Systems
Invue, Charlotte, N.C.

Vertical Garden
Studio del Verde, Brembate, Italy

Photography: Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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