The Client of the Year title went to a retailer that's redefining the department store

To give our audience eyes and ears into Frame Awards 2020, we're sharing coverage on the decision-making that resulted in the winning projects. Below, we celebrate the recipient of our honorary award Client of the Year: Galeries Lafayette. Find the full collection of winner reports in our upcoming May/June 2020 issue, Frame 134. 

With the future of physical retail increasingly uncertain, department stores are becoming an endangered breed. But rather than surrender to the threat of e-commerce, Galeries Lafayette chose to invest in redefining the typology. How should the future-proofed department store operate? To whom should it appeal?

Since today’s consumers expect memorable experiences, the French department store chain is marrying culture and commerce. And what’s the best way to deliver impactful experiences? Be bold. Galeries Lafayette was brave enough to open a store without shop windows and to import its homegrown concept of flâneurism as a circulation strategy in its latest Asian flagship. The former, the work of Bjarke Ingels’ BIG, is designed as a Champs-Élysées destination (see Frame 129, p. 89). Realizing that two big drawcards to physical retail are curated selections and optimal service, the brand included niche labels available at no other Galeries Lafayette store and opted for 300 trained stylists instead of sales staff.

As the image and communications director at Galeries Lafayette and president of the Lafayette Anticipations foundation, Guillaume Houzé initiates collaborations with artists, resulting in pop-ups such as Felice Varini’s installation at the Shanghai department store. Portrait: Paul Blind.

And the company is not just working with big (pardon the pun) established names, but also relative newcomers, such as Studio GGSV. As part of an exhibition and event strategy designed to drive foot traffic, Demain, le vaisseau chimère (Tomorrow, the chimerical vessel. See Frame 127, p. 87) was on show during the 2018-2019 holiday season. Studio GGSV fused the physical and the digital in a multisensory installation that appealed not just to adults, but also to kids. Setting aside the ethics involved in marketing to children, if a brand is already trying to cater for the next generation of consumers, it most certainly has its eyes set firmly on the future.

galerieslafayette.com

Frame Awards 2020's Honorary accolades were proudly sponsored by IBA. The People's Choice award went to Lexus.

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