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Totally Tubular

French lingerie brand Undiz uses a tubular pneumatic system to inject animated fun into its petite environment

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When a prime 538-square-foot venue became available on a posh shopping street in Toulouse, France, lingerie brand Undiz, part of the Etam group (Paris), reinvented itself with a funky hybrid of 19th-Century technology and modern retail for the space. Opening January 2015, the city’s fourth Undiz store was created from concept to installation over four months by the brand’s in-house design team, along with architectural studio and brand strategist, Stories Design (Paris).

“I have always been intrigued by pneumatic systems that push air-propelled capsules through networks of tubes hidden in post offices, banks and supermarkets,” says Sébastien Bismuth, director general, Undiz. “So when we needed to design a shop with limited selling space, but [with] a large stockroom, the Undiz Machine was born.”

Commissioned to develop the idea, Dan Otmezguine, director general, Stories Design, along with Xavier LaForge, president director general, explain that the transparent tubes were left visible to add an urban, industrial feel that relates to the maze of city infrastructure and transport systems.

With select apparel physically displayed on fixtures for customers to see and touch, the Undiz Machine bridges the divide between in-store experience and online shopping. The store’s large, touch-sensitive digital screens allow customers to personalize styles, sizes, colors and price preferences from a wide range of lingerie, as well as get product advice. New lines are also launched in-store one week before the brand’s other locations.

Orders added to shoppers’ digital baskets are relayed to tablets in the store’s stockroom, and within three minutes, a cylindrical capsule is filled with apparel, RFID tags and name cards, then delivered through the air-propelled tubing system. Upon arrival, customers can open an empty capsule and return products through the tubes or checkout discreetly with automatically scanned RFID labels, rather than the lingerie tags. 

Although the digital tablets, tubes and RFID tags create a techy feel, implementation was simple, says Bismuth, as the interface connects with the existing website and required little customization. Fascination with this playful shopping experience led to the introduction of a larger Undiz Machine store in Paris in July.

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Click here to see Undiz's pneumatic framework in action:


 

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