CHANEL’s Espace Parfums Launches At Bloomingdale’s 59th Street
asked , Vice President Creative Services-Store Design & Visual Merchandising, to comment on the design of CHANEL’s Espace Parfums at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street and how it engages the customer with CHANEL’s fragrances.
: When you were given the concept of Espace Parfums, how did you translate that to the structure of the installation?
: The concept is called “Espace Parfums” and represents the full journey through the world of CHANEL fragrances, including the Les Exclusifs collection. The concept was to create an environment that communicates the breadth of CHANEL’s fragrance expertise as well as a high level of luxury, which is reflected in the choice of high-end materials, finishes, lighting and seating. It also incorporates an intimate space for one-on-one consultation which allows the customer to engage in the brand on a very personal level.
: What special features were created that are not in other CHANEL fragrance counters? Please describe them in detail, particularly the ceramic blotters in the Olfactive Bar.
: The Olfactive Bar is exclusive to the Espace Parfums concept. It is centered around a full set of ceramic blotters, each infused with one of the full range of CHANEL fragrances. The idea of the blotter came from Jacques Polge, CHANEL Master Perfumer, and Christopher Sheldrake, CHANEL Perfumer, Director of Research and Development, who wished to create an experience for the customer that mirrored their own ritual and gesture of experiencing fragrance through blotters. The idea was to create a distinct departure from the spritzing that is typical in department stores and provide an environment where the experience of fragrance is free of spraying, until the client has made her final selection.
The blotters are arranged by olfactive family—Florals, Orientals, etc.—and are the core of the customer’s olfactive journey. As the customer begins to explore, she is presented with blotters individually for consideration. Without knowing exactly which fragrance she is smelling, she may surprise herself that her preferences are different from what she originally thought—so a customer who after many years thinks she’s an exclusive Coco Mademoiselle fan may discover that she actually is quite drawn to No 5 Eau Premiere or Coromandel. As the customer picks her favorites, they are laid out on a black tray for her to revisit at the end of her consultation. In addition to each fragrance, there is also a ceramic blotter with an infusion of coffee scent to keep the nose clear.
: Is there special lighting for this installation? Are the fixtures new to this space?
: The pendant lamps are custom-made exclusively for Espace Parfums.
: Are chairs a new feature? How does that improve the relationship between the Beauty Advisor and the
: The chairs are also custom-made exclusively for Espace Parfums. They are low chairs, which allow the customer to linger and engage comfortably to encourage a more personalized consultation.
: How do you believe this installation will engage the customer in a new way about fragrance and ultimately drive sales?
: The level of personalized attention and exclusivity of the one-on-one experience will allow the customer to confidently navigate our portfolio of fragrances and enjoy the process of finding the one—or several—that best suit her. The level of engagement and trust that is built through the interaction with the fragrance expert is supported by a space that is designed to encourage dialogue. In contrast to the transient nature of most fragrance experiences, ours encourages an on-going and personal exploration of fragrance that has the customer returning to CHANEL as the ultimate fragrance expert.
: Will this installation provide a blueprint for others in the future? Are the other Espace Parfums installations already in place similar to the one at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street?
: An early version of Espace Parfums was installed in Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York City store in 2008. There are discussions about rolling out additional Espace
Parfums, but no plans have been fully finalized at this point. BF