Courtesy of Checkland Kindleysides
The culturally inspired area around Carnaby Street known for its creative youthful energy matched harmoniously with Nixon’s brand ethos and made sense for their newest retail location on Newburgh Street. The new retail location follows in the footsteps of a Paris location, which opened in September.
For their retail concept we created an architectural horizon line, which is a device that lets us own any space in a simple way and becomes the canvas for the Nixon story allowing us to showcase Nixon’s perspective and product in a bold, distinct way. On the exterior of the store, this manifests itself in confident black and white, following through to stained black and raw matt grey concrete interior creating a horizon line which divides the space and references the common thread which runs through the Nixon (wearers) landscape: oceans, mountains, parks, concrete jungles. A subtle nod to the diverse environments of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, in our store concept this becomes an ownable architectural design statement, rather than a literal interpretation.
The Nixon store is a story about immersion, a subtle reference to the ocean rhythm and flow, but this also relates to product immersion. This is reflected in the merchandising, where we created an artful watch presentation which provides a sculptural centrepiece in the store. Watches are displayed rhythmically on undulating plinths, partly immersed below the surface of an under-lit aqua blue tank; they punch through the glass top, appearing to float on the surface.
This also demonstrated a step change from traditional watch merchandising, where watches are displayed behind glass. Nixon felt it was really important that their watches were accessible, encouraging customers play with the product unassisted.
Adjacent to this sculptural centrepiece, a large footwear inspired ‘watch wall’ displays over a hundred watches on a tinted glass matrix; this is set against a watch tile backdrop – with tiles inspired by the original tooling used to cast Nixon watch cases, which gives a sense of the craftsmanship behind the making of Nixon products.
Opposite the watch wall soft goods are displayed. This space makes good use of the datum line, with a single shelf, placed on the line running along the store wall. Apparel and accessories are presented below this shelf, whilst opportunities for visual merchandising are provided above, with products displayed on raw steel peg boards, set alongside brand and campaign art and imagery. Alongside a premium product area showcases Swiss made Nixon watches and Californian leather goods in a locked cabinet.
At the back of the store the customisation area appears to have been dropped into the space like a wooden packing case. Constructed from plywood panels and punched steel pegboard, it has a temporary workshop aesthetic and also provides a material reference to skate and street culture. Following the ‘horizon line’ design, the plywood has been partly varnished, giving the illusion that it has been dipped into water up to the datum.
At the customisation bar the store’s clientele celebrate ‘designed in California, customised in London’ by following the step-by-step guide of how to create their own customised watch, choosing elements for their own unique watches from a palette of component parts of watch faces, straps, cases and engraved detailing options. Their bespoke watch is made in front of them, while they wait, before the ‘curator’ carefully packs it into the bespoke packaging. The curator is also on hand to share local knowledge of events relevant to the Nixon collective in the surrounding areas.