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A Scent-uous Design

Whether it's the sweet smell of vanilla, a fruity citrus or a more floral bouquet, fragrances often evoke romantic visions. But sensual perfumes don't have to be saved for a special occasion; they can be worn and enjoyed every day.

With that in mind, Miami-based retailer Perfumania sought to create a store that would attract customers year-round. All the retailer needed was a new design that would be fun and playful, drawing customers into its world of intoxicating scents. Perfumania enlisted Southfield, Mich.-based JGA Inc. to devise a new design for its Aventura Mall store in Miami.

"So much of Perfumania's business is done during certain parts of the year, such as Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and Christmas," says Ken Nisch, chairman of JGA and lead designer on the project. "This store is whimsical, fun to be in and easy to browse around. It attracts a more impulsive buyer."

In addition to drawing customers at all times of the year, the designers aimed to create a sense of fantasy in an environment where customers could sample and discover products on their own. To accomplish the design goals, JGA started at the beginning - the store's entrance.

As customers approach the storefront, they are greeted by a giant metallic perfume bottle. The icon is intended to draw the eye from afar to the store, which is located at the end of a long corridor. The perfume bottle also sets the tone for what's to come: a store filled with curved, flowing surfaces, reminiscent of perfume wafting through the air.

"We tried to capture the essence of fragrance positioning," Nisch says. "You don't see straight lines. The fixtures are all Dali-esque."

Beginning at the perfume bottle icon, a yellow terrazzo floor path flows through the store, leading the eye all the way to the back wall. Curvilinear light cove mirrors and moveable circular fixtures also add to the fluid theme. The wall fixtures, which are shaped like perfume bottles with caps, provide a neutral backdrop for the product.

The neutral fixtures were chosen because they accentuate the product, which often comes in brightly colored boxes and bottles. In addition, the colors of the store can be changed from time to time, without having to change the fixtures, Nisch says.

"We used dramatic colors like wisteria purple on the walls," he says. "The store has a simple palette as a background, and can be changed dramatically though the use of paint."

Once customers are in the store, they can test and sample fragrances in the open-sell environment. The products are displayed in front of the counter so shoppers can see and access them. This method dispels the feeling that the person behind the counter has control, as is the case in many cosmetics and department stores, Nisch says.

While Perfumania specializes in fragrances, it also carries cosmetics as well as aromatherapy, bath and skin-care products. In keeping with the design goals of a customer-friendly, approachable environment, JGA created a separate area for these products. With a textured gold-flecked tile wall and yellow curvy wall display, the area has the feel of a luxurious boudoir, Nisch says.

The new Perfumania store is now in the testing phase, says Benny Shuflita, director of construction and purchasing for Perfumania. If it is successful, the retailer will roll it out into high-end, upscale mall stores. So far, the new look meets and exceeds the expectations of the retailer, he says, adding that Perfumania gave JGA full design control over the project.

"We were looking for a hip design to catch up with the time and the trends," Shuflita says. "It's definitely eye-catching. They (JGA) knew what we were looking for."

TAGS: Development
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