Habitat has unveiled the first of its two new standalone flagship stores at Westfield London, the largest shopping centre in Europe.
Forming part of the mall’s new Home hub - which brings together multiple homeware and furniture retailers under one roof – the new 4700 sqft store, now Habitat’s third largest in the UK, has been designed by the retailer's own in-house design studio and features over 1400 products from the Habitat collection across furniture, lighting, textiles and home accessories.
“Working with Westfield London to create a major new homeware destination for London has been a hugely exciting project to be part of and we think a fitting location in which to launch our first standalone Habitat store for 10 years,” comments Habitat MD Clare Askem.
“As we evolve the Habitat brand we’re conscious of catering for customers who increasingly want the choice of shopping in stores or online in a way that suits them. Alongside good digital growth we’ve seen a great reaction to our store format trials which allow customers to interact with our products in different retail environments. Westfield London will be our first large-format store to offer customers a new immersive Habitat shopping experience within a major shopping mall and is aimed at those that who want the convenience of different fashion, home and entertainment retailers in one easy-to-shop location.”
The new store has a minimalist feel, evolved from the 2016 redesign of the retailer's Tottenham Court Road flagship. “The space has been built around a white cube framework that allows us to layer a variety of product, bright colour, shape and pattern on top without making it visually overwhelming for customers,” comments Matthew Long, senior designer for Habitat.
“To make customers take time to appreciate the product, the interior design is stripped right back so that there are minimal visual distractions – no large digital screens, imposing fixtures or dramatic architectural details. The store is designed as a calm, inspiring environment where customers can browse product at their leisure.”
Customers are greeted by a 4m-high industrial framework entrance with three ‘Instagram square’ window displays allowing an uninterrupted view through to the store inside. Checkerboard flooring has been selected for the entrance foyer to act as a backdrop to highlight the bright colour palette for which Habitat's products are famous. To the left, an adaptable installation and events cube will house design collaborations and small customer workshops that will take place in the store each month.
Further in, a light natural oak flooring has been chosen as a base to present larger furniture and upholstery items, which allows customers to better visualise product within their own home. A striking 60-piece raft installation hangs from the ceiling to break up the height of the ceiling and give a more domestic, inviting feel to the store.
“We want customers to go on an experience in this store and discover the many design aesthetics that exist within the Habitat collection,” comments Amy Rich, visual merchandising manager. “Both architecture and visual merchandising has been devised to draw the eye into the store from the main shopping mall walkways, starting with a wall of bold colour and pattern and being led through by the undulating design of the raft design at different ceiling levels, emerging at a dramatic, full-height lighting installation at the back of store. We’ve purposely created a modern marketplace feel with abundant, informal stacks of tactile products placed throughout this journey, to encourage customers to touch and feel designs as well as naturally flow through the space.”
15 Habitat store staff will work at the location.
“We are delighted to welcome Habitat’s first new flagship store to the Westfield London expansion,” comments Myf Ryan, CMO Europe and group director of brand and strategic marketing for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.
“The store is an excellent addition to our strengthened homewares and interiors offer at the centre. With so many high-profile homeware retailers to choose from and easy access parking, Westfield London is the perfect destination for shoppers to find the very best products for their home.”
Habitat plans to open its second new flagship store in Brighton city centre this November as part of the Hanningtons Estate redevelopment in the Brighton Lanes shopping area. Ranged over two floors, the 6500 sqft store will feature around 3000 Habitat products, with room settings and an innovative workshop and events space.
Habitat's owner Sainsbury’s says it is investing £1.5m in the brand's first standalone stores in 10 years.