As a response to the needs and challenges of the growing retail industry in Britain, SFD was founded in 1998 supplying mannequins and shopfitting solutions to retailers across the country. The company’s reputation spread overseas and it quickly grew into a truly global business – with offices and facilities in Asia, Australia, Europe and USA – evolving with clients in creative sectors, retail, hospitality and more. In 2016, it was recognised that the company’s expansion would benefit from restructuring the various parts of the business that had formed over the years to create the sfd Group.
The group now incorporates three distinct arms: the in-house mannequin business, Nude, which has an innovative and bespoke approach to its design process, collaborating with each client to realise their vision; the flourishing London-based creative agency, Our House, which focuses on spatial and brand design and has worked with international clients such as Matches, Topshop and GAP; and SFD, retaining the stable of high-quality fabrication and delivery of projects that defines the brand.
Priding itself on a creative, client-focused approach, each element of the business works symbiotically to offer clients a complete solution to their projects, or more specialist collaborations in design, visual merchandising, windows and mannequins. It is this attitude that we aimed to bring to life at EuroShop 2017. We wanted to create something unexpected in a sea of exhibition stands. SFD’s vision, communicated from the outside and throughout, builds momentum as the visitor moves through the structure and becomes more familiar with the brand.
Designing and developing marketing material, packaging and products all went hand in hand with the design of the space to ensure a strong and cohesive brand message that we hope delivers our aspirational outlook. The identity continues to every area of the internal space. We envisioned a fresh way to use materials commonly found in construction, challenging the norm to develop an impactful and impressive structure while keeping its visual presence simple and pared back.
Designed by Our House and built by SFD – and housing Nude’s latest innovations and mannequin ranges, to complete the sfd Group’s roster of brands – architectural references were prominent throughout. The interior steel framework exposed the skeleton of the build, while the opal polycarbonate enclosed the structure and created backdrops to display on the inside, as well as evoking curiosity from the outside through light and shadows from the “glowing box”.
Muted grey finishes and an intended raw aesthetic, with black and grey stained MDF, added to the calm simplicity of the interior. Terrazzo details added playfulness to the environment and allowed us to showcase one of favourite finishes. The entire experience was considered in the initial brief, with sensory additions – most noticeably scent and temperature – generating a welcoming, calming environment that complemented the physical space.
Clever way-finding techniques allowed self-navigation and this was key to creating an informative journey for visitors who wouldn’t be met by our team until they were inside the stand’s core. From interactive projection and the unveiling of our Nude Mannequins films, to the coffee cups and brand books, we wanted to ensure that everything the visitor saw and touched was considered and designed by us. We knew that many visitors would be hearing about and experiencing sfd for the first time, so the language and how we communicated the business to them was our biggest focus.