Main differences between executing an architectural project and designing a window display
The issues are similar in terms of responding to a specific client brief and working within the limitations of programme and budget. The main differences are the reduced time we have for research and development, and the challenge of how to be innovative within a short timeframe. Budgets are obviously smaller, which can put pressures on quality, however; clients approach us for special installations which they commit to in order to create value by their design and materiality. In our architecture, we often create or develop brand identities, but in window installations, existing brand credentials are more important. We always challenge our clients to push an element of their brand and think differently, which is exciting.
From an architect’s point of view, significant points to consider in the process of designing a window display
Firstly we work to understand the core brand values and key messaging at that time, be it Christmas, a brand anniversary or the launch of a new collection. We look for opportunities to break out of the mold of the brand’s traditional window style and create a design which encourages dialogue and interaction. Finally, we seek to create joy and surprise with an impactful installation.
Materials and techniques
The selection of the details and materials are driven by the core values of the brand, therefore for a retailer who talks of premium materials and details, we seek to express those qualities in a bold way. We tap into the power of multiplicity and scale to create something which has an impact from 1 metre, 25 metres and 100 metres away, using materials which reflect and diffuse images to amplify the installation. Our installations are designed to change as you move past and around them, and be viewed from both inside and outside the store.
We try to understand the specialisms of manufacturing in the host country, for example in the case of the Marble Mannequins for Maria Luisa in Shanghai, Chinese master stonemasons created exact 3D printed sculptures to scale. For the hand blown crystal head-pieces we worked with Lasvit, a specialist glass maker in the Czech Republic. Our modelshop scaled a replica head from timber to allow the processes to happen in parallel. Exacting maps, drawings, and models were required for the 800 individual cast sheep which combined to create the Golden Chandelier for Brooks Brothers, which were then developed alongside their shopfitting team in Milan, Marangoni Design. A series of tests on computers and through physical mock ups meant that the final design rollout was simple to follow – whilst still taking considerable time to create – with each component labeled according to its location in the installation.
Standards to consider while designing a window display
The Squire and Partners brand is set on a foundation of uncompromised quality, considered innovation and a crafted attention to detail. In the cases of Brooks Brothers, Maria Luisa, and Linda Farrow, their core brand values closely aligned with our own. The quality and attention to detail created in each window display have attracted other brands to work with us, seeing how our approach to installations can amplify their brand. Each client comes to us for a fresh, innovative and exciting solution.
The process of exhibiting same design in different countries
We are still working with Brooks Brothers. The development of our window display on Regent Street, including the 3D sculpting of their Golden Fleece icon for the first time has led to the international tour of the original two chandeliers to Milan, Osaka and Tokyo, as well as individual golden fleeces, being used as signature Christmas tree decorations. This year – which is the bicentenary celebration of Brooks Brothers – has been dedicated as the year of the Golden Fleece. The Christmas tree in Times Square NYC has been adorned with hundreds of golden fleece decorations, a limited edition of 200 hand blown fleeces have been created, and all major stores worldwide are displaying a special edition of the original golden fleece chandelier design consisting of 200 golden fleeces. With hundreds of stores taking part all over the globe, a simplified system has been created allowing for ease and consistency of installation.