Monday, December 9, 2013

one2free Flagship Store Design - Thinking Beyond the Apple Store

A thrilling day for me, as I just received the official announcement from UK’s International Property Awards that my design for one2free Flagship Store has won the top honor of the World’s Best Retail Interior Award 2013-2014.

My memories flashed back to the day when we received the pitch presentation invitation from CSL Limited.  I’ve never done design for any telecommunications brand, but that doesn’t mean I cannot create something unique for CSL.  I did a lot of research in what other telecom competitors are doing.  I looked at the success of Apple Store, the brand has inevitably raised the bar for customer experience benchmarking.

When I started to work on the new concept for one2free  design, I did not want a predictable solution.  I wanted a design that could breathe life into the brand, redefine the customer experience and ultimately bring new business opportunities to one2free.  I took the creative risk to challenge the comfort zone of the CSL management, and I also hoped that they would be brave enough to take my concept and bring the brand to a new level.

No wall of phones display.  No fixed sales counter.  No long queue-up to be served.  Yes, it doesn’t look like a retail mobile shop.   I believe a hip and chic loft design will reflect the aspiration of one2free’s target audiences.  I created a retail ambience with no boundaries, the customers are free to explore and learn all about the latest trends in the telecom arena.   The retail ambience has been transformed into a platform for social networking.

We won the pitch.  A memorable comment from one of the key managements that I would never forget : “Clifton, I voted for your design, because it makes me positively nervous”.  

Yes.  If a brand wants to excel, the management must be brave enough to get out of the comfort zone.  What’s more important, challenge the industry norm, think out of the box and create a design for the brand that will make its competitors nervous.  

I am fortunate to partner with such an amazing and visionary management of CSL Limited.  One small remark, when  we were officially appointed, I asked the CSL management about the proposed design of other pitching companies.  The answer : They all bear similar elements as the Apple store design.

If you have time, I would like to invite you to experience my retail store design of one2free and 1O1O.  From there, I wish you would be able to feel the soul of my creative design. 

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Clifton Leung Design Workshop official

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