Monsoon Accessorize Limited (MAL) is a leading high street retailer and household name, with an international presence of over 1000 stores worldwide through its two clothing chains – Monsoon and Accessorize.
MAL’s origins date back to 1973 when founder Peter Simon opened the initial Monsoon boutique in Beauchamp Place, London following an inspirational road trip around Asia. A year later, the first Accessorize store opened in Covent Garden.
In 1994, Monsoon Accessorize Trust, a registered charity, was set up to raise funds for under- privileged women and children in Asia.
Staying true to its roots, its UK and international stores still to this day feature extraordinary collections of art, fabrics and other products which originated or were crafted on the Eastern continent.
MAL identified a need to significantly enhance its in-store offering through the use of audio- visual and digital technology, media and content delivery, which would work in harmony with its existing merchandising and brand identity.
The company had yet to seriously delve into the use of digital technology in its stores to attract, engage and inform its customers. Therefore, any application of substantial AV in an existing store or new addition to its estate would be breaking new ground.
Appointed after successfully completing a number of earlier projects for sister brand Accessorize, PAI was given another challenging brief.
The client was keen to include strategic digital elements, but in particular it was pivotal that the store boasted an extraordinary digital façade.
Previously occupied by another retailer, the vacated unit featured a large, five metres wide by five metres tall cube shaped structure, that had been clad with a reflective finish.
MAL’s design team aspired to transform this into a high impact, engaging, branded display, featuring digital content on three sides to create a ‘living canvas’. Design intent for the project was that this would become an iconic digital feature of sheer scale.
PAI suggested and specified RGB LED tiles ahead of projection, due to the inherent ambient light levels in the shopping centre, as well as the associated running and maintenance costs of high brightness projectors. The chosen products are also front installed and maintained – a key factor in our specification.
The design process involved the creation and submittal of detailed drawings, product dimensions and weights, as PAI worked closely with the client’s own in-house team. A small-scale mock-up demonstration was also implemented for MAL’s senior stakeholders. Proactive project coordination was essential so that PAI could advise how best to make minor alterations to the existing structure to affix the LED tiles.
A further critical requirement was that the client’s signage supplier needed to be able to install a standard illuminated store front sign to the front face of the ‘cube’. As this could not be fitted directly to the tiles behind, PAI suggested, then subsequently liaised with the signage contractor to design a bespoke fixing solution to sit behind and pass between the LED tiles. The minimal gap is masked with a chrome infill, which is all but invisible to passers-by.
MAL’s design team also identified key areas for digital content to be displayed across the store’s interior. PAI worked closely with designers Blas to integrate correctly sized products into the key areas identified, ensuring that all digital screens were integrated seamlessly.
Working in collaboration with construction contractors, 29 internal displays were installed across the two floors well ahead of store completion, in some cases working to tolerances of just 1mm in terms of fit.
The installation of the LED tiles proved somewhat more challenging. Given the lead time on manufacture, shipping and delivery, just three days were available to install 120 units with local media players, working alongside other trades.
Undaunted by the complexity and incredibly tight schedule, PAI’s installation team worked proficiently to deliver this impressive scheme on time and within budget.
Thus, as the store hoarding came down on the night before the official opening, the completed LED tile façade was visible for all to see, ready for a successful launch the following morning.
“It’s certainly been a challenging store to design and deliver, but seeing the store open this morning and hearing the great feedback we have received already it was worth it! A fantastic looking store that is packed with customers, so a big thanks to all involved in the project.” – Dan Leach, Former Head of Store Design, Monsoon Accessorize Limited
To find out more about our work for Monsoon, or to discuss a similar retail project, please contact us on +44 (0)1554 740500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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