24 Jan 2020 • Retail
Why this unconventional Thai retailer built an ‘experimental co-creation lab’
Discovery Man, an imaginary character with a cube-like head and a wealth of intellectual curiosity and creativity, is practically omnipresent at Bangkok retail complex Siam Discovery: The Exploratorium. The pathfinding protagonist was conceived by Japanese design firm Nendo – they imagined a symbolic host to help shoppers glide autonomously through the seven-storey store.
The existence of Discovery Man, who in concept reflects consumers back to themselves in their best light, only hints at the uniqueness of Siam Discovery within its market. Nendo got involved with the retailer in 2016, asked to redevelop the existing centre into an attractive destination for modern consumers. Merchandise is not categorized by brand at the reimagined Thai venue; the experience, rather, is now fashioned as a discovery-led ‘Lifestyle Laboratory’. One of the newest features introduced to the transformed consumer landscape is the Future Lab, an experimental co-creation space produced by Keystone Design. With a portfolio full of exhibition pop-up spaces, the team had exactly the right know-how for the retail client’s unconventional requests.
When it came to planning the Future Lab (which will present revolving product themes on a long-term basis), Siam Discovery spokesperson Salawit Suviporn explains that they were thinking about three things – the people, the partner and hyper-personalization. Geared toward consumers looking for limited-edition products and a focused viewfinder into their production, the space is all about exclusivity. This means that Siam Discovery can count itself among the retailers that McKinsey & Company reports are rethinking their business models to reflect disruptions in the fashion industry; exclusivity, notably, is one, largely in part thanks to the success that drop culture has afforded streetwear.
After each theme is selected, it’s tailored to represent the passions and interests of the target audience. The Future Lab’s first exhibition – understandably, considering this audience, sneaker-centric – is curated by Soul4street. There’s one spot for an informational showcase and in The Hyperpersonalize by Converse, an area dedicated to customizations, workshops and activities are hosted every day, often in collaboration with popular artists.
The result of the ‘experiment’? Over 1,000 limited-edition sneakers sold in a single month – and counting. In March, the sneakers will be set aside and the Future Lab will be steered toward denim.