Project Focus: L'Occitane, Fifth Avenue

Design: In-house
Opening date: August 2018
Store size: 174 sq m

The new L'Occitane store at 555 Fifth Avenue in New York is the latest in a wave of new flagships and concept stores to launch around the world, as the natural cosmetics brand strives to take customer experience to the next level. Designed by L'Occitane's international artistic director, Daniel Contorni, and VP concept design, construction and merchandising, Paul Blackburn, the 174 sq m store will be an evolutive space continuously changing to highlight seasonal campaigns.

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'555 5th Avenue is an immersive destination unlike any other, filled with endless discoveries of the spirit and beauty of Provence,' says Blackburn. 'From eye-catching art form installations to integrated lifestyle products and enhanced fulfilment services, the ambience and atmosphere will change throughout the life of the store with the goal to captivate the consumer's attention, encourage engagement, and produce user-generated content for social media buzz.'

While the Flatiron experiential boutique, which opened at the end of 2016, offers an exceptional level of service, 555 is designed to be more disruptive, targeting new customers, driving in-store traffic, and increasing overall brand awareness.

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With L'Occitane's treasured natural elements and the brand heritage in mind, the design team has created a modern twist of Provence right in the heart of New York City, using a contemporary palette inspired by authentic Provencal codes and materials. Minimalist structures display products between a series of distinctive customer touchpoints, including a 'rain shower' sink, an interactive skincare consultation area, an enhanced fulfilment services comptoir and a curved communal bench set beneath the canopy of a Mediterranean olive tree.

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At the heart of the store is a space that will continuously change and highlight seasonal campaigns inspired by the Provencal lifestyle, ingredient stories, environmental and philanthropic commitments like the brand's recycling partnership with Terracycle, and significant product launches.

'At 555 5th Avenue, each customer's experience is intended to be unique and we are excited to launch this interactive boutique,' said Christina Polychroni, regional chief marketing and e-commerce office for North America, ahead of the opening. 'Customers will be able to explore the L'Occitane brand history and signature products through ever-changing immersive installations that echo the Provencal arte de vivre and rich story-telling moments.'

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To adapt to differing consumer preferences across the world, L'Occitane has adopted a 'glocal' approach and is developing creative experiences tailored for local clientele. These include new flagships and concept destinations in Brazil, Paris, London, Chine and Singapore, each with its exclusive style and portfolio of services. At 86CHAMPS in Paris, for example, the brand has partnered with French pastry chef Pierre Hermé to offer macaroons inspired by L'Occitane's iconic ingredients, and in Singapore, it has opened a pop-up cafe with Asian Pastry chef Janice Wong. A travelling L'OcciTruck is also currently touring North America.

'In today's digital world, customers rarely enter a L'Occitane store purely out of need; they expect to be pampered and entertained, and want to indulge in the experience,' says the company.  

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