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gpstudio, the luxury retail design consultancy, has worked with The Whisky Shop to design its newest store – located in the heart of Manchester’s Exchange Street near exclusive retailers Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

gpstudio were awarded the brief following their acclaimed design of The Whisky Shop’s flagship London store in the heart of Piccadilly, which opened in December 2012. This store has become widely regarded as one of the world’s leading specialist whisky retailers, thanks to its innovative design which places emphasis on taking the customer on a voyage of discovery.

The Manchester store, which opened its doors on Thursday 22 August, has the objective of educating and informing the consumer and imbuing them with a sense of the craftsmanship involved in the creation of this fascinating luxury product. Whilst gpstudio’s designs for The Whisky Shop store makes a strong statement, they ultimately aim to be welcoming and accessible.

Stuart Naysmith, Partner at gpstudio, said: “Bringing the space to life for the customer was incredibly important to us – both visually and experientially – as we wanted to bring a theatrical quality to the art of retail. For inspiration, we tapped into the heritage of whisky as a product and used this to guide both our design and the customer journey.”

The Manchester space showcases almost 600 sq ft of prime retail space. As the customer is paramount, the space has been split into two distinct sections – “show me”, and “sell me” – which will guide their shopping experience.

In the first of these rooms, gpstudio worked closely with some of The Whisky Shop’s key retail partners – Diageo, Brown-Forman, and Whyte & Mackay – to help amplify and tell stories about their brands. In appreciation of the rich heritage and expertise of the product, the spirits are presented in the same way as a fine perfume. A glass gantry with black UV-bonded glass links the front retail space with the “sell me” room, The Whisky Shop Library. Here, customers can choose from a vast selection of rare and exclusive whiskies.

The materials palette mixes raw steel with traditional oak and slate, hinting to the heritage of the product whilst telling the story in a very modern way that is relevant to the product, brand and consumer. The new store also has striking design features, including inset angel wings at the top of the Library stairs. These are a signature symbol of The Whisky Shop, in reference to whisky terminology of ‘the angels’ share’.

Andrew Torrance, managing director of The Whisky Shop, said: “These are very exciting times for The Whisky Shop. Our aim is to inform and entertain our customers when they visit, to grow their appreciation that whisky is a wonderful and diverse drink that should be enjoyed rather than revered. We look forward to bringing The Whisky Shop experience to Manchester.”
* The 2013 National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) Design Partnership Award for Retail

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