Innovation and differentiation are at the heart of the design of Harvey Nichols Birmingham. The design approach was to break rules and challenge the predictable imagery and established principles that define luxury shopping environments, replacing them by a new visual vocabulary, more experimental, unconventional and creative, where style and technology work together seamlessly. The concept of ‘controlled disruption’ is present in the store layout and design: the eclectic approach to materiality; the contrast between rough and smooth surfaces; and quirkiness in design of furniture creates an almost subversive design vocabulary.
A key element of this design approach is the juxtaposition of unexpected materials in a retail interior - an eclectic mix of contrasting finishes from utilitarian plywood boxes and terrazzo plinths to elegant metal and marble finishes more commonly associated with luxury. Continuing in this vein, Virgile and Partners created a bold and innovative feature wall within the menswear area of the store. Standard brick slips and pistol slips have been applied to the wall to create a fluid wave with an elegance and delicacy not often associated with such a harsh, everyday building material. The pistol slips and have been combined with timber blocks and bonded to the wall to create a three-dimensional sculptural pattern with a sense of motion, offering a dramatic backdrop to the product display.