In 2015, Korea’s no.1 natural beauty brand, Innisfree, approached tangerine with the brief to design a new flagship store in Seoul’s up-and-coming Pan-gyo district. Part of the AmorePacific family, Innisfree has ambitions to become a global SPA brand (special retailer of private label apparel) like Uniqlo, H&M, Zara and Muji. Key to this fast-fashion market is being able to react very rapidly to changing consumer tastes and having the infrastructure to respond with flexibly to customer data on a daily or even hourly basis. What began as a request to redesign the interior of Innisfree’s new flagship store, became an opportunity to develop a brand strategy and design that will take the company to new heights and create a unique Innisfree customer experience.
Led by Young Choo, Project Lead & Head of tangerine’s Seoul studio, the design team worked between London and Seoul, carrying out extensive consumer and retail insight research; visiting stores, interviewing customers and retail workers and collaborating with visual merchandising experts to gather valuable consumer intelligence. The team identified that the company needed a new guiding design strategy, to shift Innisfree’s brand identify from a regional concept linked to Jeju island – a volcanic island in the Korean Strait – to something bigger in the mind of their customers. tangerine proposed a new brand principle ‘Real Natural Living’, which communicates Innisfree as not just a natural beauty brand but as a lifestyle choice. “This new proposition re-orientates the Innisfree brand from a Korean concept to something international in appeal and global in ambition,” says tangerine CEO Martin Darbyshire.
This new direction is communicated in every aspect of the flagship store; from how the products are packaged and displayed, what new ranges should be introduced, through to the choice of interior finishes for the retail environment and the design of the exterior architecture.
The customers’ journey throughout the store is a multi-sensory experience of natural discovery. At the entrance, is a living promotional counter with real green bushes and ‘The Cloud’ – an installation by New York Artist Richard Clarkson that emits lightning and thunderclaps according to a person’s proximity. This draws shoppers into the store, introducing them to Innisfree in a captivating and immersive way. Bespoke designed floor-to-ceiling fragrance diffusers allow customers to test and select their favourite scents before purchase.
On the second floor, the design of the Innisfree Green Café reflects the company’s environmentally sensitive outlook. Bespoke-designed greenhouse seating booths and Jasper Morrison chairs, made from 100% reclaimed plastic and responsibly harvested wood, provide sustainable cafe seating. Real tree trunk columns intersect the interior environment, breaking up the seating areas, to create privacy and a natural sanctuary for diners. The food and beverages menu features many of the fresh natural ingredients used in Innisfree’s natural skincare ranges. This reinforces in the mind of the customer the natural benefits that are derived from the brand’s expertly crafted natural products and an Innisfree lifestyle.
The client says:
“Our new flagship store in Seoul helps to position Innisfree as a lifestyle SPA brand with an international appeal, says Innisfree CEO Se Hong Ahn, “tangerine is helping us to create a blueprint for a unique retail experience that’s underpinned by an effective digital infrastructure.”