Retail Traffic

SADI 2011 – Liverpool Polanco - Credits

Department stores are notoriously difficult spaces to design. Part of the very essence of the concept is that it carries a wide variety of merchandise. And that goes double for international department stores, which are often larger and carry and an even more diverse product mix. (For example, take note of the motorcycle helmets and attire in the one of the slideshow photos.)

FRCH Design Worldwide succeeded in the face of this challenge and came up with a space that has a design consistency while allowing a heterogeneous mix of merchandise to shine. To make the achievement even more impressive, FRCH’s design was a renovation of an original scheme that in itself was well-conceived and executed. Add on top of that the fact that the store sits on an unusual triangular site that the architectural team was able to make work put it over the top in this year’s contest.

One judge remarked that part of what makes the design so noteworthy is the fact that the architects “never lost control. It always feels like the same store.”

Judges also thought the design fits the brand perfectly and also sits well within the context of Mexico City. They also commented on the “fantastic” and “artistic” graphics that are featured throughout.

In order to completely update the design perspective, without reducing its historical significance to the local region, Liverpool's Polanco flagship in Mexico City needed a simple but powerful design solution to enhance the brand and also make shopping an experience that captivates and inspires, creating a new sense of discovery that entices the shopper to visit again and again. Liverpool wanted a more fashion-forward image to attract new customers without alienating existing ones.

The building's size and triangular shape, with curved sides and square rooms, makes it unique. The first challenge was to connect the interior with the architectural footprint. The double-height atrium with monumental columns connect the ground level with the mezzanine above, creating a central hub that acts as the visual heart of the 504,009-square-foot store. A new boulevard concept complements the exterior architecture, adds feminine curves and allows the customer to discover the store as they travel through it, finding something new and different each step of the way.

The design creates a rhythm of salon-like shop vignettes presenting merchandise in unexpected ways, catching the eye of the shopper. The expanded space allowed designers to introduce trend zones, which highlight a carefully edited sample of the store’s premier offerings to show what's cool and what's now, mixed with more traditional merchandise. The apparel presentations become visual art, creating a sense of drama and an immediate "wow," along with intrigue about what's around the corner.

Mannequins are suspended from above, while graphics are changed seasonally to keep the displays fresh. To keep customers moving through the space, iconic elements are strategically placed on each floor: a collections area on the men's floor, a full-sized carrousel on the children's floor and a furniture tower on the top floor.

The colorful feather sculpture accentuating the hyper-scale staircase also suggests vertical transportation and entices shoppers to explore the six-floor department store. The overall palette is dramatically simple and powerful, designed to elevate merchandise and brand presentations. High gloss black and white porcelain tile accent the space, creating a sense of drama while splashes of pink color reinforce the Liverpool brand. Light and dark gray lines overhead act as natural wayfinding, following the curved layout while lending masculinity to the design. The design is a continuation of ideas that will evolve with the customers.

Project Name
Liverpool Polanco Department Store

Mexico City

Square Footage

FRCH Design Worldwide

Servicios Liverpool, SA de CV

Construction Supervision
JF Supervision y Coordinacion de Obra

Lighting Designer
Lighting Workshop Inc.

Lighting Supplier


Grupo Huitzilin & PC Proyectos

Grupo Porcelanosa

OMS Photography

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.