Padini concept shop

Date: Apr 2004

Padini Bold New Concept Shop in KL

"Padini's first free standing concept shop in Kuala Lumpur is a cross between a department store and a shop within a shop concept", explained designer Brian Quirk, principle of the Q+A design group based in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

The 22,000 sq. ft. shop located at One Utama Shopping Mall could very well be classified as a small sized department store due to its size, but, the brief was to create six different brand concepts and have them work cohesively under one roof. Each of the six brands represents and targets a different customer lifestyle, (which in today's lifestyle driven retail environment could very well be the same customer in his different roles as businessman and as active father) which needs to be accurately translated into an appropriate design that is readily identifiable by customers while extending, educating and challenging them to expand their understanding of good design.

The six brands represented in this flagship concept shop are Padini, Seed, Vincci, Padini Authentics, P+Co., and Miki. "The challenge", Mr. Quirk goes on to say "was to give each brand strong enough I.D., yet have synergy between them to allow for flow and ease of shopping without jolting the customer as they progress from shop to shop".

The Q+A design group's strategy was to identify a key material by which to illustrate each brands identity. Each of these key materials would then need to be distinctive amongst the other brands, while adding to the overall cohesiveness of the total store concept, no small task indeed. However, this was effectively achieved with great success through the careful selection of material and color which has become a trade mark of the Q+A group.

"Padini", which is the company's fashion label with a strong emphasis on business wear, was highlighted by colors which are indicative of a more career oriented palette. Browns, khaki and dark chocolate colored clay brick tile made the foundation of this brand's color palette and differentiated it from the adjacent brands. The Padini fixturing was stainless steel with a nyatoh wood veneer. While, "Seed" the company's slicker fashion driven brand was highlighted by the use of more color in pinks and grays and a trendier material found in fuchsia colored back painted glass. Seeds fixtures were constructed from stainless steel, walnut veneer and back painted glass. The Vincci brand used a white palette with blond timber details, engineered maple planks for flooring and its fixtures were glass with white spray paint

Another distinctive highlight of the Padini concept store is it's unusually wide aisles which extend as wide as 6 meters in some areas and were fashioned out of compressed concrete tiles, allowing for large promotional platforms to extend out of the shops basic frame work right into the aisle and subsequently directly into the customers path, forcing customer to interact with each brand. Some of these platforms are lit and permanent while others are ambulatory allowing the space to change as and when needed. The platforms are used to support mannequin presentations as well as promotional activities.

A global trend in retail design has been the discovery of the ceiling as a strong architectural element adding depth and interest to the design plan, as well as the customer's eye. Design firms such as Q+A are experimenting with multi height, multi colored, negative and positive space (which in this case was achieved by using plaster board and painted timber planks), lighting effects (achieved by using 35W cdmr for recessed lighting, 75W par 30 track lights and 150W metal halide for the poster walls) and much more in an effort to create beautiful and spacious looking ceiling treatments. The end result being the rhythmic motif which allows the customers eye to dance between the walls of color and texture, the ceiling effects of negative and positive and the lushes floor finishes all adding to the total retail experience and strengthening the stores design composition.

As is often the case, columns pose one of the most difficult challenges for architects and designers and so it will remain until such time that someone solves the riddle of how to build without them ala Buck Minster Fuller. In this instance Q+A decided to accentuate them by applying floor to ceiling, full color, lifestyle graphic images of singular persons at each shop location. This helps to enforce the brand image and define the target customer.

For both the Q+A design group as well as the Padini Corporation the end result of six months planning is a totally comprehensive store design which more then satisfies the clients brief and achieves the client's long term goals of building brand equity and brand awareness while providing the customer with total shopping experience for all Padini brands.

For Indian readers it is important to note that this project was six months in development. Allowing for proper development time is essential to developing a flagship concept shop and truly getting it right. Whenever possible, firms should seek to provide design teams with the room and support to achieve the clients proposed goals and aspirations. More often then not, young retail start ups with little experience will set unrealistic deadlines for themselves and therefore restrict the design teams ability to create and properly prepare for projects which actually require long term planning, the result being lackluster and poorly planned shop concepts which whined up hurting the brand and the design firm more then helping them.

This however has not been the case for Q+A as they are now in great demand around the region and are presently working on projects in Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia.

In this coming January 2005 issue of Retail Biz, India, we will take a look at the new C.K.Tang Department store in Singapore, (also designed by Q+A) which took a long term planning approach and it clearly demonstrates how proper planning can result in "state of the art" results.

Back to Articles