Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Apple Store in Paris

As one of the most iconic brands in the world, Apple is continually opening stores around the globe to espouse their sexy tech gadgets.

Typically the design involves a lot of glass, chrome and brushed metallic surfaces, but not so for the newly opened Paris Opera store. Apple has chosen a fitout in keeping with the old building, previously a bank. It sings (literally – it’s across the road from the Opera de Paris)of romantic Paris – mosaic floors, bay windows, marble, wrought iron, stone and wood.


It’s all too easy for brands to roll out the same design everywhere they set up shop. Apple has seized the opportunity to build a customised store that reflects the cultural significance of their newest location.

Check out this video of the opening.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Look. Stop. Shop

This year’s State of Design festival includes a clever activation of Melbourne retail spaces that are viewable any time of day or night.

Twenty four retailers are participating in the design-led walk by creating special window displays and in-store installations. They range from department stores (Myer) to tiny boutiques (Smitten Kitten, Alice Euphemia), design owned and operated spaces (Craft Victoria) and pop up shops for fashion, books, furniture, flowers and objects (Pollon, Sticky).

With a theme exploring sustainable design, the best part about this initiative is that it brings art into a retail environment that is all too often dominated by generic high street point of sale campaigns. Retailers shouldn’t need an excuse like this to provide customers such visual stimuli.
Check out more pics here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Harvey Nichols Everyday Design Windows

Department store windows can be such a joy to lose your gaze in. Check out the latest by Harvey Nichols entitled 'Everyday Design' including a man assembled from books, piano composed from cassette tapes, hammer built of nails and Ferrari created from plastic horses

"Harvey Nichols have used the current trend 'classics' and turned it on its head to transform mundane objects into works of art... expect the unexpected..." - Janet Wardley, Head of VM, Harvey Nichols

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Inflating Space with Icebergs

Architects Woods Bagot have designed a temporary, inflatable building that can be erected on vacant sites.

The Iceberg is made of modular units with a steel structure wrapped in EFTE high-tech plastic with a temporary concrete slab. Air beams (or big balloons) have been stitched into the fabric to provide additional structural support. The entire construction can be disassembled in a week and with the volume being little more than air, there’s minimal carbon footprint.


The firm were inspired to design the Iceberg by the huge number of stalled construction sites around New York, post GFC. In an interview with, Jeff Holmes, partner in charge of the NY office said “We tried to re-imagine how you could reuse those sites, but it had to be a real proposal. There's been a number of creative solutions in New York and Boston because of the number of stalled states. We took a hard-nosed look at creating something viable."

This design is surely set to increase the ever growing number of Pop-Ups used by businesses…. Perhaps now to be referred to as Blow Ups!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tracking Tram Times

Whilst we may gripe about the debacle that is the Melbourne train network, at least we’re spending less time waiting around for our tram to show.

For those uninitiated, tramTRACKER is a service that uses real time information to determine the position of any tram on the network and then upon request, send that to customers.

The service was launched back in 2006 for phone, SMS and online use. Now it’s available as a free app available for iPhones. A further on board feature allows patrons to track the approximate location of their tram and its estimated arrival time at upcoming stops.
Yarra Trams have used a novel approach to promoting the hound dog logoed tramTRACKER service to target those who could be using trams including:

Postcards depicting other things you could be doing rather than waiting for the tram. Distributed in places where you would prefer to be i.e. drinking coffee postcards at the café or listening to the DJ postcards at the bar. It includes a tear off section you can record your tram location and ID.

Standing on the tram you will notice the tramTRACKER tags hanging from the overhead hand rail.

A short animation depicting ‘spending less time at the tram stop and more time doing the things you love’ screened at cinemas close to tram routes.
Whilst the terms ‘customer service’ and ‘public transport’ are rarely used in the same sentence, Yarra Trams is a company adding value to the supply of a transport system for its customers. They’re also communicating the service in a targeted and clever fashion.