On Location

Fostering the
five senses

Nick Taylor, Director at London-based firm The Design Solution, which was charged with the commercial planning and design of Ever Rich Duty Free’s T2 makeover, says that the company’s mission was to drive a new customer experience and create a unique Sense of Place across the radically updated main store.

“An original retail encounter that shares a deeper expression of Taiwan.” That’s how The Design Solution Director Nick Taylor sums up the client brief from Ever Rich Duty Free for the T2 retail and food & beverage refurbishment.

“We were honoured and delighted to support Ever Rich in their exciting vision for the retail experience at T2,” Taylor says. “Their partnership approach and commitment to the traveller not only drives the airport experience higher but also makes them a truly exceptional company to work with.

“Ever Rich were determined to be authentic, consistent and comprehensive in reaching the traveller through the five senses across the whole store experience. The vital first challenge was to engage them visually,” says Taylor in explaining how his company set about the challenge.

“From our bird’s eye visual of the store layout [pictured directly below] you can readily see how the flow is designed to actively draw passengers as they leave the security area and into the store. The key was to entice them with stunning, high-scale visibility that aims to capture their interest at that key psychological moment as the relative stress of the check-in [just metres away from the main store -Ed] and security gives way to a feeling of freedom and exploration.

Bird’s eye view: The positioning and flow entice passengers as they clear central security

“By sharing such immediate and impactful category and brand visibility, we aim to engage with them from a distance, thereby taking other dwell time activities and rival retail options out of the equation. This is particularly important at this store due the ‘walk-by’ layout of the terminal space whereby passengers enter the retail area from a central point, with the option to step towards the Ever Rich store located to their right or rival retail options to their left.”

Within the store, Taylor said, all product categories have been enabled to share their own story while being held together by an over-arching design concept, which blends the theme of “dynamic modern Taiwan” with beautiful expressions of traditional local culture. The end result ranges the spectrum from neon slogans in the ceilings to outstanding works by local artists. “The Hennessy bar, for example, offers a luxury encounter styled in rich copper tones but also adds contemporary humour through the vivid neon signage above it,” Taylor points out.

Digital media plays a key role in conveying the brand offer

Digital media plays a key role in conveying the brand offer

“We wanted the design concept to reflect the comfortable co-existence between the vibrancy and fast pace of Taipei – with its fusion of cultures – and this green and uniquely mountainous island. This can especially be seen in the digital ‘living walls’ together with vibrant neon-effect signage and a layer of digital communication throughout the store.”

Drawn in-store by the colourful visual promise, shoppers are then engaged by what Taylor describes as the “multi-sensory energy of the space”, including an integrated sound system and a scent delivery mechanism. The store and the second-floor F&B space offer a range of experiential options – from a cocktail bar to virtual makeovers and locally themed culinary and cultural encounters.

Lights, Cognac, action: The Hennessy bar offers a luxury encounter styled in rich copper tones, lit up with contemporary humour through the vivid neon signage above.

“We fused together the feeling of welcoming and spatial openness at the front of the store with organic lines in the ceilings, open pathways and strategically positioned furniture to help flow passengers seamlessly through the space, where materials and lighting enhance the ambience and unique personality expressed within each of the product categories,” says Taylor.

“It was crucial that the overall design complements rather than dominates the brands and the product presentations, thereby placing stronger focus on them and delivering the passenger with an engaging, stimulating and, above all, a uniquely Taiwanese experience.”

As one of the airport world’s most renowned retail designers and planners, The Design Solution has long championed the concept of Sense of Place. Taylor applauds Ever Rich and Taoyuan International for embracing that principle not just within the retail space but across the whole airport.

“Across Taoyuan Airport, Ever Rich has a long history of celebrating the beauty of Taiwan with the world and you can see this in everything from the newly updated locally-themed designs of the lounges to the products from local farmers and artisans in the stores,” he comments. “They also appreciate that customers’ perception of service quality – not just within the stores but across the airport – are a vital contributor to the airport’s Sense of Place.

“All too often in the airport industry it is the retail space that seems to be assigned almost sole responsibility for transmitting a Sense of Place but, to be fully effective, that local spirit needs embedding throughout the passenger journey. The commercial reality is that sharing an authentic local spirit across the whole airport not only provides a unique experience and enhances the passenger perceptions of customer service, it actually helps drive non-aeronautical revenue.

“Ever Rich is a wonderful example of that strategy in action, demonstrating that their emphasis on the five senses also expresses a powerful commercial sense.”

Multimedia artist Chen Yijie was invited to surprise passengers through a series of large digital panels

Capturing the essence
of a homeland

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie was honoured to be asked to speak at the inauguration ceremony and give an international perspective on the T2 development. Here is an edited version of his speech.

Dear Honored Guests,

Chairman Simon and President Kevin have asked me to say a few words on this particularly auspicious inauguration and it is my great pleasure and privilege to do so.

I spend my professional life travelling around the world’s airports and studying their retail offers. Many airports and airport stores look the same. But every time I come to Taiwan, I see something unique. And I never see an airport that captures the essence of a nation better and more responsibly and more wholeheartedly than Taoyuan International Airport.

Under the unique Taoyuan International Airport master concessionaire model, Ever Rich Duty Free also manages a wide range of public services, including its beautifully themed gate lounges (above and below), each of which evokes a strong local identity

Anyone who knows the Ever Rich owners and management will know how committed and passionate they are about the important concept of Sense of Place. You see it in the public areas throughout this airport, particularly in the gate lounges that make this airport one of the world’s most distinctive; you see it in the strong focus on localised products; you see it in the company’s strong commitment to local charities and other social causes; and you see it and sense it in the way that Ever Rich always seeks to connect Taiwan to the world through its retail and wider commercial offer.

“Sensory, immersive, engaging experiences”

What really stands out to me about this renovation in Terminal 2 is therefore not only the trademark elegance, high-class design and sophisticated merchandising that Ever Rich brings to play; the impressive use of digital media, neon lighting, new technology and sensory, immersive, engaging experiences; the ease of the walk-through concept designed to give passengers an enhanced shopping flow and experience – but also the rich – make that the Ever Rich – focus on local characteristics, culture and art.

In my mind, the best examples of airport commerce are when the operator successfully blends the international and the local, building on the fact that an airport is a traveller’s first and last experience of a country.

I believe that Ever Rich has done that triumphantly – and may I say quite beautifully – here in world-class style. I congratulate Simon, Kevin, Samuel and the whole Ever Rich team and wish you all a glorious success!

The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 272 | 26 November 2019

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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