Sense of Place

Recreating the ‘Pearl of Siberia’

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The story behind the Baikal Ice Shop, developed by APC Group at Dufry’s main airside duty free store at St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport.

“Together with our partner Dufry St. Petersburg we have managed to make a small miracle and transfer the spirit of Lake Baikal to St. Petersburg Airport. In our opinion, several months of painstaking work have been crowned with success.”

That’s the verdict of APC Group Head of Travel Retail Department (Russian Vodka Export) Sergey Kuznetsov after the installation of a striking 38.5sq m Baikal Vodka concept in Dufry’s main airside duty free store at the airport.

Mission accomplished: The installation is fully completed in Dufry’s duty free store at Pulkovo Airport

The Baikal Ice Shop – which uses imagery and props to represent Siberia’s Lake Baikal, from which the water for the vodka is drawn – had originally been due for completion in March. However, the installation was postponed due to restrictions at the airport since COVID-19 struck.

Kuznetsov says: “The situation with the pandemic broke many plans around the world, which is why it was important for us, despite all the risks, to bring this project to a successful conclusion.”

Jigsaw puzzle: Contractors assemble pieces for the ice-like floor, broken up for ease of transportation

All Baikal vodka products use water gathered from a depth of 400-500m in the Baikal Lake, known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia’ and the world’s deepest and largest freshwater lake by volume. Here, APC Group claims the water has unique properties, distinguished by a constant composition and oxygen saturation, plus ultra-light mineralisation.

The brief given to contractors Klarus Design and TechnoReal was to create a single concept reflecting the natural origin of the water used in the vodka. Kuznetsov tells The Moodie Davitt Report: “First of all, we wanted to convey the magic of Baikal. We were inspired by the photos and videos that travellers posted on Instagram and other social networks. It was important for us how travellers see Baikal.”

Baikal products in place in the new installation, alongside vodkas from sister product Nerpa, which takes its name from the world’s only freshwater seal – the Baikal seal – known in Russia as the ‘nerpa’

Asked about the most challenging technical aspects of completing the installation, Kuznetsov says: “The most difficult and important element was the floor. The floor should be both convenient for transportation and installation, practical to use, convey the effect of natural ice and cost, as we say, ‘cheaper than the Boeing right wing’.”

He continues: “We tried different flooring options. As a result, our contractor TechnoReal offered to make it multi-layered and assembled it like a puzzle on the spot. We even got a sound effect similar to the crackle of ice when you walk on it, which enhances the realism of what is happening. That’s amazing.”

The central digital element of the installation is a 65-inch monitor in the activation’s bar area. It features real footage of the Baikal Lake, “so that passengers can immerse themselves in, and understand the origins of the brand”, Kuznetsov says.

He adds: “We wanted to make a window on the views of Lake Baikal, to immerse travellers in the magic of the lake and the natural origin of our product. We have planned several interesting options for presenting video and photo content, which will come to life and replace each other over time.”

The completed floor of the Ice Shop – a crack in the ice effect is clearly visible

Kuznetsov says that early customer feedback conveyed by the Baikal brand ambassadors at the Ice Shop has been “excellent”, and passenger flow to the store is steadily improving after the re-opening of several key international routes at Pulkovo Airport. He adds: “We are looking forward to the opening of more flights with countries in Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East.”

Asked if we might see similar Ice Shop installations in other airports outside Russia, Kuznetsov says: “Our most ambitious goal is to get invitations from operators in global travel retail when they see the quality of this Ice Shop installation from other countries of the world. We could implement this for many interesting projects, and will be ready to take advantage of any such opportunities.”

A 65-inch screen shows visitors to the Ice Shop images of Lake Baikal and the products on sale in-store

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 283 | 16 September 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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