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Amina Muaddi has opened a new space in London department store Harrods. Designed by Crosby Studios, it offers an escape from the real world.

Key features
Entering the store – distinctly separate from the rest of Harrod’s – the visitor encounters a library of products resting on matte silver shelving wrapped around the space. This lattice takes over the ceiling in a more reflective material, with each square containing a lightbox that illuminates the space below. Island displays are limited, and products are instead pushed outwards to the edges of the store, where they merge with the metallic architecture and become immersive elements. As a customer moves deeper into the store, the space is compressed by a raised floor, footstep clicks dampened by salmon-pink carpeting. A sudden intimacy is produced, and the visitor is guided towards a sunken ‘pool,’ where they can ‘hang out, try on shoes and meet with friends,’ Harry Nuriev, founder of Crosby Studios, says to FRAME.

The semi-circular lounge elaborates on the colour palette, employing pink for the leather couches and powder-coated tables and railing. A full-wall mirror expands the room horizontally, making the sunken lounge appear oval and centralized in a half-real, half-virtual space. Windows – which are, in fact, digital screens – line one of the store’s walls, offering views to an imagined psychedelic skyscape that slowly alternates from dawn to day and dusk to night.

FRAME’s take
According to a report conducted by Squire Patton Boggs, the number of people looking for a form of escapism when shopping has increased since pandemic restrictions lifted. For millennial respondents, the number rose from 20 per cent pre-COVID to 32 post-COVID, while for Gen X respondents, the jump seen was from 25 to 37 per cent. What this indicates is that people from across age groups are expecting more than transactions on their shopping trip. If brands want to engage with their customers, then they need to offer memorable experiences they can’t get elsewhere. Taking advantage of Crosby Studios’ distinct phygital aesthetic, Amina Muaddi rejects the traditional glamour of Harrods and immerses its customers in a subversive, fictive world. This isn’t just a five-minute gimmick, however. By introducing seating and tables for casual socialization, Crosby Studios offers an element of comfort to the space, transforming visitors into guests who are likely to come back for more.

Designed by Crosby Studios
Photography by Michael Sinclair


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