Every three years there is a major shopfitting and exhibitions trade show which is held in the enormous Messe in Dusseldorf, Germany. Exhibitors form all around the world pair up with shopfitters and exhibition contractors for what is the biggest event in the Industry and at which all the latest innovations are unveiled in what is effectively a shop fittings shop. Anyone who has anything to do with shop fitting will be there. Declan and I attended for the 8th and 9th time respectively and still there were great surprises.
The overwhelming point of interest was in lighting and in particular LED lighting. This is being incorporated now into shelves, rails, furniture, aside completely from the mainstream application of general and spotlighting. All the mainstream lighting manufacturers were holding workshops on this development and how it compares with metal halide, fluorescent and halogen lighting. I suppose the bottom line is that while certain areas such as display cases have benefited greatly from this technology. The cost and consumption of the technology is on a par with the other traditional technologies but the breakthrough for LED is not that far away and it will soon be the leading technology in that sector.
In the area of retail shopfitting there were no earth shattering developments. The major shop fittings shops downplayed the equipment aspects of their businesses with the word “concept” being constantly used to put the focus more on design and away from mechanics. The fact of the matter is that the astonishing level of presence from Eastern manufacturers has attracted the attention of those in the trade, both retailers and shopfitters, who are mainly interested in value. The quality level has advanced in leaps and bounds with the Western suppliers now taking the photographs!!
Some interesting products we came across were –
- Vinyl backing materials in very attractive patterns and finishes
- High Gloss and textured surfaces
- Aroma machines
- Window display props from Italy
- A number of products for Jewellery and gifts – keyless counter locking systems, solar turntables, watch security products
- In store displays controlled by microchips that will display information on a screen for whichever product you handle
We attended forums on COEO, Morhs and Communication in Retail.
COEO is a concept sustainable store in Berlin. They categorise products into four areas -Fair Trade, made by people with disability, organic/sustainable and books on environmental and wellness.
Morhs is an Independent Department Store in a small town (population 1,900) 40 km from Hamburg. By having a highly individual style and premium brands they have developed a loyal following. In an unconventional approach they have ceased mail order trading and it is not possible to shop online. In order to shop here you must visit the store and experience the environment.
Blocher&Blocher did a presentation on two projects from a communications perspective -Intersport Brundl in Kaprun is in a rural area of Austria and was about how the Architecture of the building related to the physical environment and how they reflected their natural environment in their graphics message back to customers.
Kastner&Ohler in Graz, Austria is a Department Store that was recently demolished and rebuilt. This was the story of how they communicated with their public when reopening and looked at a number of unusual topics in what was regarded as a souvenir publication. They included features on the building itself as it developed with photography showing progress, stories on individual employees cleaners to management, interviews with local celebrities and politicians on their experience and memories of the store. They also asked the question – what would happen if there was no Kastner&Oehler? Physically what would the City’s landscape look like and how would it effect the city itself.