Out & About: RDE 2017

Retail Design Expo returned to Olympia London this week for its third outing, providing plenty of inspiration from stand holders and a comprehensive seminar programme, often packed out with standing room only. Here are our highlights from the two days...

Virtual reality
As virtual reality integrates into the mainstream design process, many exhibitors demonstrated its benefits in store design. Quadrant Design in the Designer Village took visitors on a walk-through of its latest project for Radley, while Lumico Design demonstrated its VR software in the Kesslers Lounge.

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LumicoDesignVR enables you to rapidly modify store concepts, visualise new retail designs and adapt to changing needs of the client.

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British Gypsum demonstrated the benefits of its acoustic ceiling panels with virtual acoustic reality in conjunction with acoustic enginering specialist, Cundall.

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TRO Retail brought its bespoke TRO Boutique to RDE to showcase a suite of creative technologies that are transforming modern retailing including augmented reality, personalised virtual reality, RFID and Microsoft Kinect – allowing visitors to experience the benefits and features in a bespoke designed 'boutique' environment.

Visual merchandising

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Forming Reality used the show to demonstrate its new Bare range of mannequins and accessories made from papier-mâché. 

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Live mannequins on the Straco stand, which was celebrating 20 years. Visitors were invited to take a selfie and use the company's own Snapchat filter.

Illustration and drawing

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Illustrator Annie Rickard-Straus joined us on the Retail Focus stand for day one. We gave her free reign on a number of table tops to showcase her live art.

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Whiteroom collaborated with Vic Lee who inked up a live mural over the two-day show.
Image credit: Vic Lee www.viclee.co.uk

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British Gypsum offered caricatures of guests to their stand, to help showcase the company's magnetic surfaces.

Magnets
Several companies demonstrated the power of magnets and how they can be used to change displays with ease.

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Graphics display specialist Leach demonstrated its Product Wall Lite, manufactured in any size up to 15m x 3m and created using a discreet magnetic-based display system, to allow maximum flexibility for lightweight merchandise such as shoes, jewellery and electronics.

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Raccoon showcased magnetic surfaces with magnet frames and butterflies.

Materials and surfaces

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Outform Valley chose a wooden structure with standout lettering.

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Office Twelve's skateboard ramp-style creation was also made out of wood.

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Design4Retail also chose a wooden structure, welcoming guests to its House of D4R

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Riding the wave on the Corian stand.

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Mirri, a new brand from Celloglas, was introduced at the show. The stand displayed more than 30 different substrates that a variety of Mirri finishes have been used on, highlighting its versatility on different materials and to showcase its range of metallic finishes that can be applied to most POS substrates.

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LG Hausys

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Surface Styling

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Woods and metallics by Moduleo

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Renolit

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Dorotape's new Aslan Rose Gold finish.

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Oberflex

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ROAR showcased a series of textural patterns created throughout the history of the company.

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Animal prints by bbrown.

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Glitter remained a popular choice by many and featured on such stands as bbrown, Replica and ICON respectively.

Sustainability

A continuing trend, and something that Gen Z like to keep a close eye on...

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Oriam Green returned to RDE with its paper-based re-board material in the form of a giant bus.

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Raccoon chose to built its stand from re-board. The Raccoon team found brands were really engaged in conversations around sustainable solutions.

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je+1 chose to create a central focal point of cardboard boxes in the middle of its stand and on the ceiling, with smaller branded boxes lined up on the back wall.

Sensory

AromaCo tickled our senses with their fragrances in the VM Christmas Market area, while ICON armed visitors with headsets for its immersive pop-up.

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We launched The Retail Exchange podcast on the Retail Focus stand, inviting visitors to listen to the first episode at our listening booth.

Movement

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First time exhibitor Shimmerwalls created plenty of interest with its sequin walls that gently move in the breeze. 

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Fastrak's Fred the robot and moving cogs caught the attention of passers by.

Ice, Ice, Baby

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Display by Design won the SDEA's Best Stand Award, voted by its members, with this real ice sculpture. Wonder if they broke open the Moet after winning...

Props


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Replica laid on a feast for the eyes.

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Optimus Prime from Transformers greeted guests to Propability's space.

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Creative company Kosa took its cactuses to RDE, demonstrating the team's range of arts & crafts skills.

Display & shopfitting

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British Gypsum's Gyproc Habito plasterboard can support weights of up to 15kg of weight (yes, that's right) with a single No. 10 woodscrew. It transforms a wall into a working element of the retail environment and reduces the need for pre-planned and pre-installed pattressing, meaning interiors can be redesigned time and time again without the constraint of locating fixtures and fittings.

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Flower power at the ASH Design Solutions stand.

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Beautifully finished display systems by JPMA.

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Nexmosphere develops products that enable a rich and intuitive shopping experience that will change the way people shop. They combine all elements such as light, touch, video, audio, pick-up and presence sensors for a tailored shopper journey.

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Arken POP

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WBC

Lightboxes

There were lightboxes a plenty at this year's show, including from the likes of Graphica Display, Leach, ICON and Vision.

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Vision Product Wall by Leach.

Lighting

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Tagra Lighting certainly stole the show with its mirror and LED creation. Kate Nightingale from Style Psychology tweeted: 'Love the linear lighting @TagraLighting. So many possibilities of application, especially wayfinding and product accentuation.'

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Reggiani bought a more compact version of its Light + Shade stand concept from EuroShop to the show. Highlights included the first UK appearance of several new products including the Unit and the Yori Evo Ghostrack.

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Feature installation by SP Group.

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MJ Lighting created a colour changing LED feature wall.

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Filament bulbs on the Display by Design stand.

Play/immersive

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ICON's Play / Shop / Pop-up concept invited guests to take part in an immersive experience, including selfies, a game controlled by movement sensors, and light boxes where the colour was controlled by participants clapping. 

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TRO Retail immersed visitors into their own Live Poster and hosted a tea bar that served up a personalised tea bag depending on the mood they were in.

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True Story's Ideas Machine in the Designer Pavillion.

Graphics & printing

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Godzilla v King Kong... Graphica Display took its printed ping pong table to RDE for a tournament or two.

Foliage

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Greenery, both real and fake, popped up in several places.

The Designer Pavilion

The Designer Pavilion included eight design agencies: Quadrant Design, True Story, Household Design, Edge, Double Retail, Octopus, Display Plan and Ormerod Design & NBC Building Contractors.

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Household Design showcased its #retailculture campaign.

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Quadrant Design

Seminars

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Standing room only at many of the seminars.

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Michael Freeman from IGD, Kate Shepherd from Checkland Kindleysides and Victoria Buchanon of The Future Laboratory discussed shopper marketing for Millenials and Gen Z.

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Charlotte Parsons at Marks & Spencer, Ian Dorsett from Debenhams and Diesel's Jacqueline Taylor explored VM at Christmas.

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Nathan Watts from FITCH explored boosting emotion using devotion.

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Visual Thinking founder Karl MacKeever rounded off day two with a dose of humour and engagement with his 'Fluffy B*llocks' presentation.

VM Christmas Awards

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Hamleys won the Grand Prix Award with Propability.

Department Stores
Magasin du Nord by Mette Boesgaard Illustrator and Office Twelve

Fashion/Footwear/Jewellery
Pringle of Scotland by Snow Business and Proportion

Grocery
M&S by SFD, SP Group, Harlequin and Blue Mount

Beauty and Cosmetics
Diptyque by Millington Associates

Best Use of Digital in a Christmas Display
Asprey by Lucky Fox

DIY, Homewares, and Garden Centres
Redfields Home of Garden and Living by WH Sage Décor and Kaemingk

Hospitality – Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Travel and Leisure
St Georges Market Belfast by Creating Retail Magic and DZD

IT, Telecomms and Electrical
Three Ireland by The Delta Group

Most Outstanding Christmas Feature or Prop
Selfridges by Global Display

Shopping Centres, Town Centres and Airports
Shopping Center Management Corporation by M Works

Sports Goods, Toys, Hobbies and Pet Care
Hamleys by Propability

GRAND PRIX winner
Hamleys by Propability

Retail Design Student Awards, sponsored by ITAB

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The annual awards see students tackle live briefs from retailers and brands. This year the design challenges have been set by  Adidas, Majestic Wine and Pret A Manger. Students from six colleges have taken part. The 2017 competition has seen entries from Glasgow School of Art, the University of Huddersfield, Kingston University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Middlesex University and the University of Portsmouth.

The scheme is supported by major design agencies, which have provided mentorship to entrants as well as paid internships to winning entrants. Design groups including Graven Images, Fitch, Start JG, 20.20 and MWorldwide have mentored the participating students. The winning students will be offered paid internships at the retailers and design agencies involved in the scheme.

Pret A Manger brief
Winner: Johanna Hauke, Manchester  Metropolitan University
Commended: Ningwei Yuan, University of Huddersfield and Elysia Dyson, University of Huddersfield

Adidas brief
Winner: Ka Wing Chan, Middlesex University
Commended: Eloise Day, University of Portsmouth and Hanna Stauch, Middlesex University

Majestic wine brief
Winner: Veera Ahlholm, Glasgow School of Art
Commended: Luiza Darie, Kingston University and Annabel Simmons, Kingston University

Innovation awards

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The Retail Design Expo and Retail Digital Signage Expo Innovation Trail and Awards, sponsored by 20.20, were won by Sensape, for its Sensape Visual Retail Solution. The system combines digital signage with powerful artificial intelligence and augmented reality, creating a digital signage network that can adapt its output to suit each viewer individually.

'Huge congratulations to Sensape on a well-deserved win. The team has created a solution that offers brands a new and dynamic way of selling, which literally makes the supermarket shelf more active,' says Mariann Wenckheim, director of retail at strategic design consultancy and award sponsor 20.20. 'In its own marketing literature, Sensape points to the fact that it can leave shoppers amazed by the experience they have had with a brand. Everyone in the retail industry knows that a run-of-the-mill, average experience isn't enough to achieve shopper loyalty. Customers want to be wowed, they want to remember and they want to be treated as an individual, which is exactly what Sensape has encapsulated.

'Furthermore, the product works just as hard for the brand, supplying invaluable quantitative data. It allows brands to be both engaging and relevant, which really is a winning combination in retail. In my eyes, this is Big Brother, made useful!' She says.

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