Fortnum & Mason's Dubai store - dressed and ready for opening
The topiary teapot was a last minute addition, heralding the store entrance
out of reach upper shelves were used to create a tableau of visual feasts
Left - the metal armature in manufacture Right - the topiary form was 'dressed' and completed onsite
creating a piece of retail art, using product as paint
FORTNUM & MASON
DUBAI STORE OPENING
When British institution Fortnum & Mason launched its first overseas store in Dubai, Head of Visual Presentation, Paul Symes faced the major challenge of how to present Fortnum’s vast range of magnificent product in a contemporary environment, whilst still retaining the brand traits of opulence and indulgence.
The 9,400sq.ft, three floor store was both light and airy, and the fixtures clean and modern in design: creating harmony between environment and product was all important. We started from the bottom up’ says Paul, namely with the products themselves.
Using his skill and passion for merchandise grouping and a logical customer-friendly
approach, his visual strategy soon began to fall into place. Essentially, Paul used the packaging of the products in a similar manner to an artist using paint to create a work of art. The uppermost shelves were too high for customers to shop, and so were populated with oversize glass vessels filled with tea, biscuits and confectionery - contributing to the contemporary feel.
Multi-sensory artists Bompas & Parr were commissioned to create ‘customer experience’ stations to showcase Fortnum’s famous tea & jam. Paul complimented these with 'customer indulgence stations’ - fixtures piled high with an array of mouthwatering feast foods.
It was essential that each fixture (including the open window displays), were ‘customer shoppable’ and also easy for the retail team to replenish and maintain.
Only when onsite did it become apparent that the store entrance needed a focal piece to reflect Fortnum's quintessentially British character and product eccentricity Paul responded immediately, designing a giant topiary teapot (on the back of a paper napkin), which was produced locally and installed in three days - much to the amusement of the passers by….