02/23/2005

EHI-Conference - Architects' & Designers' Conference

The Architects' and Designers' Conference took place for the first time on the occasion of this year's EuroShop. It offered the international participants an opportunity to get acquainted with the visions, the philosophies and the hands-on know-how of renowned names in the industry. The kick-off to the conference was given by the well-known French designer Olivier Saguez, the creator of much appreciated retail concepts such as Lafayette Maison and Lafayette V.O. His 'Red Thread' concept, a continuously consequent design language from architecture to packaging, already exposed the megatrends all the speakers were to refer to during the conference: the consistent orientation towards precisely segmented target groups, the creation of a 'Spirit of the Place' through emotional and experience-oriented supercharging and, above all, openness, frankness and transparency, both externally and internally, by opening up façades, by using free-floating stair constructions and through a love for daylight.

The Stuttgart retail architect and visionary Dieter Blocher made a deep impression with the presentation of his international mall projects, such as the Zen in Bangkok, which are totally developed along those lines. He also broke a lance for the inner-city shopping centres, which bring new life into our cities. In that respect he was in total agreement with Gisela Simon of ECE Projektmanagement of Hamburg, who represented the decidedly pragmatically focused fraction of the participants' circle. Her presentation of Nova Eventis in Leipzig, Germany's largest combination of leisure and shopping centre, currently under construction, equally left a lasting impression.

Valerie Lloyd of Design Ministry London and Damian Morris, the manager of the Polish Galeria Centrum department store group, produced a didactic play about the emergence out of nowhere of crystal-clear positioned and extremely successful fashion brands. Three experts from the USA, James Damian of the home electronics retailer Best Buy, David Milne of lingerie specialists 'Victoria's Secret' (Limited Brands) and Michael Cape of the department store chain JC Penney, made it perfectly clear that retail companies also suffer from brand fatigue and that they constantly have to revitalise, revolutionise and reinvent themselves. In that context, Michael Cape, despite all the difficulties the trade encounters, clearly spoke in favour of the traditional 'It's all inside' department store concept.
The conference was moderated by the authority on design Rodney Fitch, who with his witty remarks was in no way inferior to the likes of Sir Peter Ustinov.

More Information or photos at EHI, Ute Holtmann: holtmann@ehi.org
www.ehi.org