This year’s IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia) awards had such a wonderful group of winners and the panel of editor judges and expert jurors found it so difficult to choose just five top retail stores from the 23 regional 2014 gia global honorees that they had to choose six instead.
The six top stores declared 2014 gia Global Honorees were: TheSuperCool from Australia, K & Ö HOME from Austria, Merci from France, Galleria Fiaba from Italy, Kookwinkel Bianca Bonte from the Netherlands and Lakeland from the UK.
In addition, LERCHE design from Denmark won the Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising.
2014 gia Global Honorees
Not everyone does a pop-up store well, especially if that’s the nature of your ongoing, established brand, rather than just an experiment. For starters, you can’t be the kind of a person who lets your feathers be ruffled by change. In fact, you need to thrive on it. The dynamic duo from Australia’s funky city of Melbourne wholeheartedly embrace change, and in doing so have built up great arm muscles and online prowess, moving their product from suburb to suburb while relying on an ever-increasing loyal online community of supporters to follow them and buy their cool collection of designer products.
The owners support emerging and established designers from around the globe, priding themselves on creating interactive, constantly evolving in-store displays and experiences. TheSuperCool is only two years old, and the mobile emporium mimics the vintage peddlers of times gone by.
To learn more about TheSuperCool, visit www.thesupercool.com .
A 140-year strong retail history is certainly something to be proud of and to develop upon. The Kastner family continues to do just that with their incredibly popular department store, Kastner &
Öhler. It’s hard to believe that the 40,000 m2 space that attracts four million visitors a year, started out as a little, 20 m2 salesroom that accountant Carl Kastner discovered during a stroll through Graz in 1883.
Back then, it was selling a humble selection of products, but today, this exceptional gia honoree has grown to become one of the most popular stores in Graz, with the retail space spanning across 10 buildings from six centuries. Today, iIt has a myriad of offerings in dedicated sections of Cooking and Baking, Eating and Drinking, Bathing and Sleeping,, and Giving and Decorating.
Interestingly, the store also has an important place in Austrian history, because it was the first company within the Austrian/Hungarian empire to regulate working hours and holidays.
To learn more about K & Ö HOME, visit www.go-home.at .
From France: Merci
You wouldn’t survive as a retailer in the cool Parisian neighborhood of NoMa (La Haut Marais) unless your store was as on-trend as everything else in the area. The French winner, Merci, does a lot more than just survive however – it absolutely thrives, standing out as the go-to place for design, fashion and homewares, while also attracting foodies with its funky onsite restaurants and cafes. What better way to spend the day, than by being inspired, fitting in some shopping, and then relaxing in a charming courtyard for a meal and a beverage?
A central atrium in the store serves as a stage for regular exclusive promotions, which also brings in the crowds and inspires loyal customers. Whether it’s an emerging fashion designer or a new innovative industrial designer, Merci sets the stage on which they can showcase their work. But the owners always keep in mind that the people attracted to its wares are from all walks of life, so there is always a wide degree of price-points and products, from up-market to the very affordable.
To learn more about Merci, visit www.merci-merci.com .
Soaring open spaces and beautiful streamlined architecture give Galleria Fiaba in Sicily, Italy the feel that the owners wanted to create – that of an up-market modern art gallery. And what’s more, the pride of winning a gia award remains in the family, as it is the architect husband of the one of the owners who designed the store, and his daughter is the managing director.
Since this stylish store opened its doors in 1985, it has been causing a stir, and for good reason. Nestled in the historic center of Vittoria, the 750 m2 store is a beautifully lit showcase for the world’s top brands – vivid colors standing out against clean white, bright, well-lit walls with inbuilt shelves for creative display. Seven window displays illuminate individual handmade pieces, and collections made from the finest porcelain, crystal and silverware, while gifts and homewares are as meticulously curated as fine works of art should be. And due to the open plan design, products can be viewed from many vantage points across the store.
The family-run store retailer is always driven by trends and even its exterior – a towering black polished wall alight with over 100 LED lamps – gets the message across to anyone passing by: that a shopping trip to Galleria Fiaba is bound to be a sophisticated artistic adventure.
To learn more about Galleria Fiaba, visit http://www.galleriafiaba.com .
From the Netherlands: Kookwinkel Bianca Bonte
As they say, great things come in small packages, and Bianca Bonte’s popular store in the Netherlands is testimony to that adage. This gem of a store relies on wonderful service, ambience and high quality products, but the fact that it is housed in an old industrial building in the southwestern region of the Netherlands also adds to its charm and reputation. It only has a few staff, but it delivers an unforgettable experience.
Recently renovated for an expansion and a fresh look that harks back to days gone by, Bianca Bonte has used the industrial elements synonymous with the port area where her store is based, while also taking inspiration from cool fashion boutiques and trendy restaurants.
Making use of shipping container doors, corrugated iron sheets, exposed brick walls and a large free-standing stove to give the space an intriguing, welcoming feel, the overall effect has created a kitchen and homewares store that has curious people travelling from far and wide to check it out. Now, this once small package is a destination store.
To learn more about Kookwinkel Bianca Bonte, visit www.biancabonte.nl .
From the United Kingdom: Lakeland
Being a part of gia for Lakeland in the UK was very special this year, as not only did they become a Global Honoree in Chicago, but they are also celebrating a milestone within their own company this year – the store’s 50th birthday. Since 1964, the retail chain has continued to steadily expand, and although it now has 67 stores across the United Kingdom and the Middle East, it has always firmly held on to family values, being a family-owned business.
This large yet welcoming retailer knows what they are doing when it comes to promoting its array of innovative kitchenware: it publishes 18 catalogues a year and is a multinational business with an award-winning website that attracts over 600,000 visits a week, brimming with ever-changing content and videos that offers helpful tips, recipes and lessons in cooking.
Lakeland has established itself as a hub of culinary inspiration and the home of creative kitchenware –, and it’s mission is to change the way people think about cooking, making the difficult possible and helping the home cook achieve professional results every time.
To learn more about Lakeland, visit www.lakeland.co.uk .