What’s being described as the world’s most beautiful department store (they’ve clearly never been in the Kohl’s in Amherst, NY) has opened – or more accurately re-opened – in Paris, and what’s interesting to me is how much or how little digital display gets put in when design leads and budget is no serious obstacle.
Answer – Not very much.
This (scroll down) is a video walk-through of the La Samaritaine store near the Pont Neuf by someone on YouTube. You have to live through a lot of Oh My Gods and the trying on of many shoes, but if you stick with it and watch various segments you will see there is very little digital happening in the restored century-old store.
The store is owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH, and it worked with the luxury retailer DFS to spend an estimated $750 million USD on renovations, which took 16 years.
The video, as well as photos I have seen, show a stunning building with an open atrium gallery set-up. The one area I see lots of digital display is, predictably, in the beauty (cosmetics and perfumes) section.
I consult on this stuff, and certainly I could make lots of arguments about a video wall here, a directory there. But I think if the designers had, in a parallel universe, pulled me in to the project and asked me about where digital screens fit, I’d very probably have said, “It’s beautiful. Leave it alone.”
The store itself is already one big experience.