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House of Fraser (HoF) and leading British design studio Kinnersley Kent Design have launched the retailer’s first-ever green department store at Rushden Lakes, a unique shopping experience in Northamptonshire that blends fashion, leisure and nature. The much-anticipated department store marks several firsts for House of Fraser – it is the British retailer’s first out-of-town format, first ever sustainable store, and its first full UK store opening since 2008. The project has been shortlisted for Best New Store at the Retail Week Awards 2018, announced on the 20th of November 2017.

The stunning new store is BREEAM compliant, with a 50% reduced Carbon Footprint compared to existing HoF stores of a similar size, thanks to its energy efficient design and operations. The interior marks a lighter, brighter feel for the retailer. The concept, created by Kinnersley Kent Design in collaboration with HoF’s team, connects with the beautiful natural setting while embracing the industrial elements of the ‘big box’ out-of-town shopping format. Boasting a champagne bar and restaurant, coffee shop, and over 50 premium and high street brands over two storeys, the new HoF has true destination appeal.

Highlights include a striking 160-square foot Living Wall at the heart of the store that consists of nearly 2,000 plants, and bespoke artworks created by local artists. To help raise awareness and support protection of the local Nene Wetlands nature reserve, HoF has partnered with The Wildlife Trust BCN to help customers feel more connected to nature. The Trust is providing HoF customers with experiences and activities such as guided walks around the lakes, wildlife gardening and children’s craft activities.

David Blakeney, Director of Store Development at HoF, said: “House of Fraser at Rushden Lakes is green, local and relevant to how customers shop today. Working with our long-standing design partner Kinnersley Kent Design, we have created something more than an ordinary department store. The team has done a great job collaboratively – we’re delighted with our new green flagship and the store is trading well above expectations.”

The brief was to create a store that is not only beautiful, but sustainable too, with strong environmental standards. The department store had to be fashion-forward, social, energetic and flexible and have a sense of place. In short, it had to give customers a reason to make HoF part of their day out at Rushden Lakes. As Rushden Lakes is HoF’s first out-of-town department store, Kinnersley Kent Design was asked to create a new aesthetic for the retailer to suit the format. The design consultancy’s scope of work included masterplanning and circulation, façade design, interior architecture and lighting principles, plus defining the architectural design principles and material palette for each department.

Kinnersley Kent Design worked closely with HoF’s team to move the retailer’s identity forward. Rather than disguise the innate warehouse-like aspects of the building, Kinnersley Kent Design made it central to the design scheme, whilst balancing the ‘industrial’ elements with a lighter, brighter aesthetic. Pops of greenery appear throughout the store to add to the fresh feel. For the first time in a new HoF store, there is an exposed, open ceiling. The retailer’s signature black brand language appears in a new, lighter manner through black track lighting.

This creates a keyline effect that helps to visually divide departments, adding to the contemporary feel in a refined way. LED lighting is used throughout the store, drastically reducing energy consumption. HoF at Rushden Lakes uses eco-friendly ‘comfort cooling’ throughout in place of standard air conditioning. Kinnersley Kent Design made the perforated air displacement walls a key part of the store’s main architectural palette and used them to add texture to the scheme, demonstrating that functional can also mean beautiful.

Another benefit of the air displacement walls is that no ceiling ducting is required, so the designers were able to create a more spacious and open feel in-store. Describing the overall design approach to the project, Mick Kent, Partner at Kinnersley Kent Design, said: “The store concept introduces a new lightness of touch for House of Fraser, which felt especially appropriate given the natural location at Rushden Lakes. Having assessed and evolved the brand ahead of its launch in China last year, it was exciting to work with HoF’s team to develop this thinking further for the UK market, making the in-store identity feel brighter and more joyous.”

Design: Kinnersley Kent Design

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