By: Joseph Bigo,
Lazord, a 350 square metre (3776 square foot) site, was to be developed as a unique speciality store devoted to perfumes, cosmetics and small accessories. Located in an upscale shopping centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the client asked us to develop a strong design and merchandising concept which would clearly differentiate Lazord from the several other perfumeries in Dubai and which would appeal to the increasingly sophisticated customer base.
Lazord represents an advanced stage of the evolution of the open concept our firm originated in the late 1980s. For many years, I have observed the relationship between customers and sales consultants, and the environmental barriers to it. To encourage interaction, no counters or fixed display cases separate the shoppers from the products or staff. Shoppers can wander easily from display to display, trying products and making selections.
The spacious plan provides barrier-free access to the products, so that people with disabilities may enjoy the shopping experience as well. Cosmetic and perfume firms invest much time and money in the design of their product containers – their shapes, materials, finishes and graphics – and in the colours and textures of the products themselves.
Lazord’s design permits customers to appreciate their efforts fully. The large open store front leads to a dramatically lit, dynamic space focused entirely on the merchandising units. The circular plan is centered on the fragrance exhibit, where items are displayed on open, back-lit, stepped shelves at eye level. Adjacent testers encourage customers to experiment with products and purchase more items from within, or across, manufacturers’ lines.
The radiating accessories and gifts are merchandised in free-standing, individually lit display “satellites” which ring the fragrance unit.
Lighting Concepts lazordLighting was “brought” to the displays and the products. For example, an innovative mix of low voltage and compact fluorescent was placed in the same reflector within the display cases; suspended luminaires with adjustable heads ring the cosmetic centres and accentuate the visually stimulating fragrance unit.
Compact low voltage fixtures are implanted under pull-out cabinets to cast light on the counters. Custom-fitted light at the “satellite” tables enhance the displayed products, and custom-made compact fluorescent holders placed at each level of the fragrance stepped shelves create a feeling of airiness.
To reduce heat build-up from the light affecting the products, all ballasts were placed in remote areas, away from the products, each with its own ventilation system. Small ventilators placed in all the display fixtures ensure that the sensitive products are constantly cooled.
To accentuate this dramatic design, neon lighting and custom-designed ceiling-recessed triangular fixtures cast light beams in several colours. The main lighting suppliers for the project were I. Guzzini and Reggiani, both of Italy, Ardee Light from the U.S., and Eureka Lighting from Montreal.
The design facilitates speedy customer service and efficient inventory management. Most inventory is stored in pull-out drawers below the display shelves, with more fast moving items contained in eye level pull-out cabinets faced with mirrors for makeup application. The cabinets are also adorned with colourful hand-blown glass baubles.
Back-up stock is concealed, as is the cash and wrap station, within the fragrance centre. Within the store, specially formulated iridescent paints appear to change colour subtly. Unusual hardware details, including custom-designed stainless steel refuse bins, add to a shopping environment that is as elegant as it is functional. Lazord has met with enthusiastic response from the shopping centre management, the retailer’s suppliers and, most importantly, the customers.