Catalonia to Shoreditch: Sant Jordi’s day of love and culture

Posted on 24 April, 2015 in News

While to many of us Thursday the 23rd of April is just another day, across Catalonia a tradition of love and culture is celebrated throughout towns and pueblos.

What is known as St. George’s Day in the UK, in Catalonia is ‘Diada de Sant Jordi’. Household’s motions graphic designer Maria Padro, born and raised in Catalonia, introduced ‘Sant Jordi day’ to an otherwise ordinary weekday at Household.

Dating back to the 15th century, ‘the day of the book and rose’ is a day dedicated to love and literature. Traditionally on this day Catalans gift a rose to a woman or book to man. Maria likens the day to one of our bank holidays; painting a picture of sun and sociability: “It’s always a wonderful spring day with the sun shining. It’s funny how after the 23rd of April during your commute you see a lot of people starting a new book.”

Maria tells us that although Saint Jordi is a day of romance, it’s not necessarily a day for lovers. “Diada de Sant Jordi goes beyond love between couples, it’s also a day to express love among friends, family and colleagues, which is why I wanted to bring it to Household.”

Trying to replicate a market stall in Barcelona came surprisingly easily to our studio’s kitchen table here in Shoreditch. Maria describes Saint Jordi’s day as part of her origins, and we can see it becoming part of ours too. Its ideals of community and culture are things we gladly embraced. Just like Maria’s family and friends in Catalonia, we each went home with a book in one hand and a rose in the other.

Household's store design for Christian Louboutin at Brentwood Country Mart, LA, USA

Racked LA: Household’s red-soled wonderland for Christian Louboutin in Brentwood

Posted on 24 April, 2015 in Press

Our unique new ‘casual-chic’ store design for Christian Louboutin at Brentwood Country Mart, Los Angeles, is featured in Racked LA:

“Dreamed up by London-based design group Household, the 1,530-square-foot two-story space boasts bright red carpeting inspired by Louboutin’s signature soles and a nautical-luxe vibe ‘that reflects the tranquil allure of the neighborhood.’ On the first floor, expect to shop women’s and men’s shoes, bags, and small leather goods from the spring/summer range. Upstairs, find the French designer’s evening wear and new Beauté collection, including nail lacquers in that iconic rouge hue.”

Read the full article and see more images here.


Hot Pick 35: IKEA’s virtual wedding service

Posted on 21 April, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

IKEA’s Virtual Wedding Service

IKEA | Global

IKEA has launched a new virtual wedding service that allows users get married online, enabling guests to join in for the festivities no matter where they are in the world. Couples can browse online and pick backdrops and themes for their virtual wedding, and on the ‘big day,’ IKEA’s service allows the faces to be transposed into the scene in real-time.

Household takeout

Brands are looking for ways to become involved in significant milestones of customers’ lives. Connecting with sentimental moments, and making the occasion simple and easy as possible, leaves more time for customers to enjoy themselves.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please sign up for our newsletter.

Starbucks Reserve luxury flagship coffee store Seattle

Tasting luxury: Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room

Posted on 16 April, 2015 in Viewpoint

Pauline Young, design director of Household Los Angeles, visits Starbucks’ new luxury Reserve store in Seattle

Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room is the first in a series of 100 planned Starbucks luxury Reserve stores, introduced by the coffee giant to compete at the premium end of the market.

Starbucks Reserve, a new brand of “rare and exotic coffees”, taps into the growing consumer trend for gourmet coffee in the US, challenging premium coffee brands like Intelligentsia and Blue Bottle.  Daily consumption of espresso and other speciality (or “gourmet”) blends were up by 34% last year according to the National Coffee Association, and Starbucks Reserve is well placed to tap into this market.

Household visits Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room Seattle

The store is beautiful and very engaging.  Not just another coffee shop, it’s symbolically in Seattle, Starbucks’ hometown, like a huge shrine to the new Reserve brand and coffee making rituals.  It communicates its premium credentials with warmth, offering coffee connoisseurs an experience that’s about much more than just drinks.

The store showcases premium Reserve roast coffee blends only available at this location.  Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schulz, has said the aim was to create “The Willy Wonka of coffee” and they have succeeded.  A real coffee roastery is connected to the store, directly transporting coffee beans to the bar via glass pipes that run down from the ceiling and land next to the baristas.  In the back of the store there’s huge, working roasting machinery, which shows the process and story of coffee roasting.

Coffee roasting machinery at Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle

Full of local crafted elements, the overall feel is very human but luxury.  There are stools next to the bar so you can chat with the baristas and experiment with different blends.  The destination also sells lifestyle merchandise such as beautiful artisan cups commissioned from local artists and designers, like souvenirs of the experience.

Household visits Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room Seattle - merchandise display

Like the brand destination and spiritual home we created for Dunhill, 1A St. James’s, Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting House immerses customers in the brand, its story and difference. This approach offers huge opportunities to luxury brands – because customers are increasingly buying meaning, not just products.


Hot Pick 34: A Brand Experience At Your Door

Posted on 14 April, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

The Shebeen

The Shebeen

The Shebeen, Ireland

The Shebeen pub is a renovated caravan that houses an Irish pub which travels to its customers’ doors. The interior is meant to look and feel as authentic as possible, with a carefully selected bar top and taps, and handcrafted Irish oak floors to make it look more like a pub. Nods to modernity include a more spacious design and strategically placed electrical outlets to plug in devices. The Shebeen is available to hire for any event, with a variety of options from stocking and pouring yourself to staffing the pub with a professional barkeep.

Household takeout

Brands are keen to bring experiences right to customers, making it incredibly convenient for individuals to become acquainted brands and share memorable events.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Hot Pick 33: Amazon’s ‘Dash’ Buttons

Posted on 7 April, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

Amazon Creates At-Home Convenience

Amazon, USA

Amazon is taking the next steps with the ‘Internet Of Things’ by launching Wi-Fi enabled ‘Dash’ buttons that are placed in the home and send brand-specific delivery requests to users’ smart-devices when pressed. With the buttons physically planted around the household, customers have the convenience of re-ordering items almost without any effort on their part.

Household Takeout

Taking convenience to the next level by eliminating small, time consuming errands is appreciated by customers who are looking for technology to streamline their lives.

Household's ballot paper icon designs for may's UK general election, Blueprint Magazine

Blueprint Magazine: Household designs ballot paper for May General Election

Posted on 31 March, 2015 in Press

Ahead of the UK May 2015 General Election, Blueprint Magazine invited us to design icons for a fictional ballot paper for the real seat of Thanet South, contested by six candidates including Nigel Farage for UKIP and Al Murray, The Pub Landlord, for the satirical Free United Kingdom Party.

In countries with a fairly low literacy rate, the voting form often includes a symbol to represent a party, sometimes quite a mundane icon like a animal or object. Blueprint asked Household and other leading UK design consultancies to create a symbol for each candidate that would represent them well.

Our response – the political Lucha Libre

In the dog-eat-dog world of modern politics, only those with muscular policies and heavyweight personalities will be able to wrestle victory from the jaws of defeat at this year’s General Election. Against this combative backdrop, what better way to represent the endless rounds of struggles these candidates face, than to portray them as Mexican wrestlers? In equal part peoples’ champions, as much as enigmas wrapped in mystery.

With their party politics painted (literally) on their faces, our candidates for Thanet South present themselves in the political ring, to entertain their public, skip nimbly over controversy and do battle to the bitter end, prize held aloft.

We salute you, the political Lucha Libre!

Household's ballot paper designs for the UK May election - close up in Blueprint Magazine

Household's ballot paper designs for UK May election, Blueprint Magazine - labour, conservatives and lib dems

Household's ballot paper designs for UK May election, Blueprint Magazine - Green Party, UKIP, Free United Kingdom

Illustrations by Kyle Platts


Hot Pick 32: 3D printed cakes

Posted on 23 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

3D print personalised cakes at Albert Heijn

3D Printer Produces Bespoke Cakes

Albert Heijn | The Netherlands

Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn is using a byFlow 3D printer to allow customers to design, print, and buy customised cake decorations. Shoppers are asked to create designs using Doodle 3D, which then converts the illustrations to printable models. The printer then releases the designs in molten chocolate right onto ready-made bakery products.

Household’s takeout:

Next-level personalisation is important for customers who are seeking unique and one-of-a-kind experiences. In the grocery industry, the challenge will be to combine mass convenience with opportunities to customise.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email

Household's studio 2 - Household tops The Drum Design Census financials table 2015

Household tops The Drum Design Census 2015

Posted on 19 March, 2015 in News

We’re proud to say we’ve come first in The Drum Design Census’ financial rankings for 2015, and six overall in the Elite table for consultancies of our size.

The Drum Design Census is an annual industry report highlighting the trends, growth and performance of UK design agencies. Each agency is ranked in three main areas: financial, peer and client, with the Recommended Agency Register (RAR) speaking to clients directly for feedback.

We’re thrilled to have gained ‘Elite’ status in the Census for having scored highly across the board – especially as it’s based on our clients’ satisfaction.

The top financial result reflects that Household is one of the fastest-growing design and well-run agencies in the UK. We’re energised by the now and excited about the future, as we continue to create connections and experiences to make brands amazing and customers happy.

Virtual hugs - Household visits Futurefest 2015

FutureFest 2015: Sensational possibilities

Posted on 17 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

This March, Household attended the thought-provoking FutureFest, a weekend long event in London packed with immersive experiences, experimental technology and cerebral debates that sparked ideas and challenged perceptions of the future.

Here’s what we discovered:

Future of Food

Food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye took us on a journey in to the opportunities for all things sweet, and it was as every bit as Willy Wonka as you would hope. Great food experiences can work as remedies for the mundanity of every-day life. As a counter-balance to an increasingly flat, digital world, the ‘Kidult generation’ (adults aged between 20 and 30 who crave the joviality of their youth) are looking for foods that play with texture as well as flavour.

With time becoming premium and customers shopping ‘little & often’, innovations in vending machines include selling fresh fruit and vegetables, hot vending snacks and even bus stops transformed in to points of sale. A loss in confidence towards food supply chains will see the confectionery sector working hard to offer ‘healthy options’, mainly focusing on packaging and branding with ingredient innovation moving away from fruit, towards vegetable combinations. Finally, water will be ‘The It Drink’, ‘premiumised’ to include bottles with infused luxury flavours and even specks of real gold.

Future of Money

Perhaps the most out-there ideas of the weekend were proposals of highly conceptual future monetary systems in the Future of Money Design Awards. Raphael Kim proposed using biotechnology and microbes within the financial sector. In his ‘peck as you go’ concept, money transfers would be carried out in an exchange of biological data – in our saliva, through a kiss – using our bodies as living banks. In our connected homes, could a hi-tech toothbrush be used to monitor our bank accounts every time we brush our teeth?


Future of Wellbeing

With an increase in government happiness programmes and international corporations hiring ‘Chief Happiness Officers’, is achieving an emotionally positive state now an enforced command we all follow? Professor of Organisational Behaviour at City University London, Andre Spicer, believes that we should be wary of technology such as wellbeing apps, as they could turn life in to an obsessive measuring exercise.

And is it possible to design environments to make us happier? Paul Dolan, a Professor in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and author of ‘Happiness by Design’, states that we need to design environments that make it easier to be happier in them, paying particular attention to day-to-day experiences where our subconscious minds can be ‘let off the lead’.

Chagall performing with MiMu Gloves at Futurefest 2015

Future Senses

The entire event was bursting with sensory, immersive experiences including smells sent via smartphones, music-making gloves and Neurosis, a virtual reality thrill ride controlled by the rider’s own brain activity. See our short film at the top of the page for a look.

It is virtual immersive technology like this that will be more transformational than we can even begin to imagine. Adrian Cheok, Director of the innovative Mixed Reality Lab believes that the next stage of communication will be ‘hyper-reality’, where all senses are augmented to create a truly out-of-this-world experience – could virtual reality make us believe we are hawks flying high in the mountains? The challenge for virtual experiences is obtaining the correct balance of control. What makes ‘real-life’ experiences so thrilling is that they ultimately cannot be controlled, and it is this unpredictability that needs to be implemented into virtual worlds.

Our View

Whilst many of these ideas are still only conceptual, it is important for brands to be alert to developments which may impact their customers in just a few short years. Only 10 years ago, the smartphone was still a burgeoning concept – now many customers can’t imagine life without one. Looking ahead whilst remaining in the present will place brands at the centre of innovation.

Household visits Selfridges gender-neutral new concept, Agender 2

New Concept: Gender-neutral shopping at Selfridges

Posted on 12 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Selfridges are known to push boundaries and experiment with what a retail space can be, and their new concept ‘Agender’ does not disappoint. The shopping experience looks at challenging our pre-conceived notions of gender and fashion, offering up a luxury smorgasbord of unisex pieces.

Household visits Selfridges gender-neutral new concept, Agender3

The collection includes curated pieces from well-known designers including Comme Des Garçons and JW Anderson, and exclusive launches of upcoming brands such as Body Map and Nicopanda. Where possible, sizes range from XS to XL, emphasising that finding the right fit and form is just as important as finding the right style. The concept interlinks throughout the department store and different floors, making for a continued, connected journey.

The space, designed by artist Faye Toogood, features large sculptures resembling abstract forms of the human body that along with minimal items on display, creates a feeling of walking in to an art installation. The concept features no mannequins, with innovative visual merchandising in the windows displaying clothes in unusual and new ways. In-store, pieces are hung in handmade white fabric bags that are visually stunning, yet not particularly approachable. As each piece is enclosed, it does not feel as shoppable as it could.

Household visits Selfridges gender-neutral new concept, Agender

To the snap-happy tourist or busy Londoner, the space may seem somewhat daunting, however avant-garde fashionistas would feel right at home. However, staff were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and explained the concept in a clear, easily understandable way.

Our View

Overall, this concept is an interesting discussion starter, placing a provocative subject in to the limelight. There were customers, both men and women, engaging with the space and discussing the concept, however many did not follow through to make a purchase. Selfridges are doing what they do best – placing their Oxford Street store at the forefront of innovation. How long could it be before unisex collections, and the gender-neutral mindset, trickles down in to mainstream high-street brands?

Household's Hot Pick 31: Sustainable laundry from Bubble & Stitch

Hot Pick 31: Sustainable laundry

Posted on 11 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

Household's Hot Pick 31: Sustainable laundry from Bubble & Stitch 2

Sustainable Laundry

Bubble & Stitch I Netherlands

Bubble & Stitch is a laundry shop that provides a 24-hour service. Washers and dryers have been replaced by lockers where customers place their laundry, and via a free app enter the required service from a menu of options. Once completed (within two business days) a notification is sent to their phone. The green colour represents the store’s sustainable values – it uses only environmentally friendly processes and products.

Household takeout:

Customers increasingly choose products for the values they represent and the same applies to services. Convenience doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on other things that are important to customers.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the latest experience-related innovations and what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients. See an example issue. If you’d like to know more, please email

Household Hot Pick 30: Smart bottle from Johnnie Walker

Hot Pick 30: Smart Bottle

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

Hotpick-image (1)

Smart Bottle

Johnnie Walker| USA

Diageo has deployed the Internet of Things to create a ‘smart bottle’ prototype for its Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The bottle carry sensor tags containing digital information such as promotional offers, exclusive content or cocktail recipes. ‘Near Field Technology’ allows customers to access the information with just a wave of a smartphone and also enables the brand to track the bottle’s movements.

Household takeout:

‘Smart’ technology opens up new opportunities for brands to communicate with customers to create a more personal experience, with the potential to turn any product into a service


This Month We Visited

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s round up of new stores and brand experiences we’ve visited this month…, Soho, London

Online furniture retailer has created buzz by opening a physical showroom in central London. Online, has the luxury of unlimited space to display their full range, but offline the retailer faced the space restrictions of a bricks and mortar shop. How they overcame this was of interest to the Household team…


What Worked Well

Customers were given access to iPads, making it easy to explore products physically and digitally. These iPads brought the convenience of digital technology to the store by allowing customers to scan items, make wish lists, and then email it to themselves for future reference. Also, video projections of products were played on walls and screens, bringing life and a homely feel to the white space.

Tactile elements were carefully considered and excelled where the online store could not. A wall of pullout drawers contained postcard sized images of the products in the showroom, as well as fabric swatches to take away for free. Also, soft lighting and whimsical design elements, such as a wall displaying miniature furniture, helped to ‘de-tech’ the space, creating a warm and relaxed retail environment.

What Could Work Better

The digital projections could have been interactive to provide a more personalised and layered experience. Additionally, because the showroom was so effective in displaying the product line, it would have been nice to be able to buy furniture on site, as opposed to having to order everything online.

Our Takeout effectively combined the strengths of digital technology with the benefits of being able to see products in person. To drive this point, customers were able to leave showroom with a token from both realms – a digital wish list, as well as physical product cards and fabric swatches.

Ted Baker, Westfield White City

Ted Baker Westfield White City has launched beacon technology, allowing push notifications to be transmitted from the store’s mannequins to customers’ smartphones. The notifications are intended to communicate details about product lines, such as prices, where to find in-store, and even an option to purchase online. Unfortunately, on the day Household visited, the technology did not work. However, there are still valuable insights to learn from…


What Worked Well

Despite the technical faults, store employees were willing to help and attempted to fix the technical issues. This interaction inadvertently opened an opportunity to showcase the staff’s excellent customer service.

What Could Work Better

To receive push notifications from beacons, customers must have a specific app downloaded. There was not any communication in-store to indicate this, and there were no prompts to download and play with the app. The majority of staff were also unaware of the beacons and confused when asked about the technology.

Our Takeout

This is a prime example of technology that promises to make the retail experience more exciting and innovative but fails to deliver because of avoidable glitches. When implementing new in-store technology, staff should be trained on how to use it and how to teach customers to use it. Whilst beacon technology is still new to customers, more communication is needed to prompt the initial app download.

Tongue Twister Pop-up, Westfield White City

The Household team paid a visit Tongue Twister at Westfield White City, a three day pop-up by our friends at Condiment Junkie. It explored our sense of taste and how it can be manipulated and transformed. We couldn’t resist going along to test out our taste buds…


What Worked

Tongue Twister made good use of customers’ queuing time by providing booklets that described the pop-up, building excitement and suspense. The pop-up combined elements of play and education into the experience and began with a ‘cleansing room’ where visitors discovered what type of taster they were. The results of this test allowed a personalised and unique journey for each participant throughout the experience. Condiment Junkie even gave out taste tester strips for customers to take home so that they could continue the experience.

What Could Work Better

Enhancing signage throughout Westfield would have been helpful to direct attention towards the pop-up and build excitement further.

Our Takeout

The experience felt like a true escape from daily life, transporting visitors from a busy London shopping centre, to an immersive, surreal science lab of sense, taste and wonder.

Bang and Olufsen, Hanover Square, London

Bang and Olufsen opened a new flagship in London, and we were curious to see what the electronics manufacturer had done with their new space.


What Worked Well

Bang and Olufsen communicated a premium, luxury experience through a ‘less is more’ approach to design. To emphasise quality sound, the store featured a wall made of speakers that elevated the products to become works of art. Additionally, a cinema room and the play zone were separated to create a clear and straightforward customer journey that demonstrated the different product uses.

What Could Work Better

With so little information available, a more engaging team of staff was needed to demonstrate the different features and make the experience more memorable. Bang and Olufsen’s new portable speakers could also have been used in a more engaging and playful way to showcase the experience at its best.

Our Takeout

When selling audio products, the design of the environment can have a big impact on the listening experience. A calm and de-cluttered space with few distractions can make customers experience products fully. It is also important that customers understand what is innovative about any new products being featured. Encouraging play and demonstration is key in helping shoppers gain product knowledge. Along with this, thinking about how the product will be used in real life can be help make displays more engaging.

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Hot Pick 29: Brightening Spaces

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Lumi is the world’s first Smart LED ceiling light that can be pre-set for different activities such as studying or sleeping. Behind the app lies an extensive study of how optimum lighting levels can improve people’s health, emphasising how light has the most significant influence on bodily functions after food and water.

Household takeout:

Consider what states of mind your customers might want to achieve at various times and locations, and how you can use light to improve these experiences.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the latest experience-related innovations and what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients. See an example issue. If you’d like to know more, please email


What is graphene?

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Technology is ever changing and exciting things are always on the horizon. Which is why it’s hard to believe that something that first surfaced in 2004 is set to be the next huge thing.

Graphene is something we’ve been researching at Household not only to satisfy our inner geek, but also because we think the super-material is something our clients and other big-thinking brands need to know about. So here’s the lowdown.

Graphene comes as a sheet of pure carbon arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Incredibly thin and almost transparent, it’s a one atom-thick layer of graphite.


• It’s the thinnest material known to man
• A square metre weighs less than a milligram, so it’s also the lightest material known to man
• It’s 100 to 300 times stronger than steel so, incredibly, it’s also the strongest material known to man
• It’s the best known conductor of electricity and heat
• As it’s carbon, it’s potentially eco-friendly



It appears that graphene can – or will – do almost anything. Until now its production process was highly toxic and expensive, but that’s all changing. There are still kinks to be ironed out in how it’s made, but once they are, producing it will be cheaper and simpler. That’s when we’ll start to see its impact on technology and our lives.


Not yet widely used in commercial applications, an explosion of patents show that graphene is hurtling towards becoming something life changing. For now it’s just conductive ink that’s using it commercially. Bare Conductive is a company that’s developed both this and electrically conductive paint to be applied to any surface – both are made by mixing tiny graphene flakes with ink, so electrodes can be printed straight onto paper or painted over walls.

Last year conductive ink was used by Beck’s to create playable music posters (where conductive ink was hooked up with sensors and speakers, so passersby could touch posters to start the music), and by denim store Rivet & Hyde, who created a conductive ink window display.



The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few potential uses:

Supercapacitors (or brilliant batteries)

Technology has been advancing at a rapid speed over the past 20 years, but our ability to power it hasn’t. Graphene will be able to store large amounts of energy, and unlike regular batteries, that energy won’t decrease with every charge. Oh and every charge will happen within seconds…

Super cars

Electronically powered vehicles haven’t truly taken off because of the amount of time it takes to charge them. This’ll no longer be a problem because charge time will be minute and battery longevity, much higher. Cars could also be painted with graphene and connected to an alarm system, so that when touched your vehicle’s alarm sounds and the intruder’s stats are sent to your smartphone.

Amped-up RAM

An improvement in the speed of RAM (Random Access Memory – the most common type of memory in computers and devices) is on the horizon, and not only that, they’ll be non-volatile so no data is lost when a computer powers down.

3D printing

The 3D printing field is already huge, but with the introduction of graphene-enhanced materials with which to print, it will be used much more widely in manufacture. Graphene-enhanced materials would be mechanically stronger and have improved thermal and electrical conductivity. But what could be printed with them? Think computers, solar panels, electronics, cars – even aeroplanes!

Flexible, foldable devices

We could see televisions, phones, and even electronic newspapers with changing content, all fully fluid and flexible. Roll up digital screens, anyone?

Advanced wearable technology

You could be able to charge devices from your own clothing on the move, thanks to graphene-enhanced solar cells in the fabric converting light into energy.

Intelligent windows

Its translucency and strength lend graphene to being a possible material for windows, potentially hosting virtual curtains or projected, changeable images – and therefore highly innovative retail window displays.



By 2014 the global market for graphene reached $9 million. Most of these sales were concentrated within the semiconductor, electronics, battery energy, and composites industries. But its implications will be much further reaching and we believe it’ll have a huge impact on how we design memorable experiences.

Even now, before most customers have heard of graphene or imagined what it can do, there’s an opportunity to surprise and delight them with ‘simple’ graphene applications such as using conductive ink to make walls and windows interactive.

Everyone should know about this nanomaterial because, as Jesus de La Fuente, CEO of Graphenea writes:

“[Graphene] has completely revolutionised the way we look at the potential limits of our abilities as scientists, engineers and inventors. What we can achieve with these materials and knowledge has been blown wide open. Super-small computers, invisibility cloaks, smart phones that last weeks between charges… These are now conceivable.”

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Hot Pick 28: Tactile Tables

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

Miguel Chevalier| France

‘Socia-tability’ is an interactive installation by French artist Miguel Chevalier that transforms wooden table tops via video projections into vibrant, tactile surfaces. Various abstract monochrome and multi-coloured graphics react and change when touched, inviting visitors to express themselves using multiple senses.

Household’s takeout:

A technology with great potential to create theatrical and engaging retail displays. Could this be used as an alternative to tactile materials within a store interior?

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the latest experience-related innovations and what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients. See an example issue. If you’d like to know more, please email


Silver at the DBA Awards for 1A St. James’s

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

We are proud to say we won silver at the prestigious DBA Design Effectiveness Awards last night for 1A St. James’s – the spiritual home of Dunhill Tobacco of London Ltd.

The transformational ‘new heritage’ destination we created for Dunhill reinvents the way premium tobacco is sold, making the experience less gentlemen’s club, more aspirational lifestyle hangout. 1A St. James’s is a hybrid destination that blends retail and leisure, with a high service focus.

The DBA Design Effectiveness Awards are the only awards that use commercial data as key judging criteria, with entries facing two rounds of rigorous judging.

1A St. James’s was the highest scoring entry in its category (Retail Interiors / Environments) and won not only thanks to the design’s aesthetics, but also thanks for its impressive commercial outcomes. Key results include a 390% sales uplift and more than doubling sales conversion to 82%.

Experience branding is a powerful growth area for business and we’re excited to be at the forefront of it.

Read more about the winning project: 1A St. James’s new heritage

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Hot Pick 27: The Coffee Shop Reinvented

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Space Lounges | UK

A British teen-entrepreneur has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new coffee shop concept that hopes to be a “the next-generation coffee lounge”. Instead of cashiers, the shops will have glass boxes containing food that can be opened via a tap of a smartphone that will charge customers automatically. An app sits at the centre of the experience, allowing users to order coffee and view a ‘social map’ of who is in the lounge, with future plans for staff to teach customers coding for free.

Household’s takeout:

Technology can be used to provide a convenient service without de-humanising an experience, freeing up staff to focus on other tasks such as welcoming customers and sharing unique skills.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the latest experience-related innovations and what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients. See an example issue. If you’d like to know more, please email

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Hot Pick 26: Sensory Homewares

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Sensory Homewares

Penny Webb | Netherlands

Designer Penny Webb, has developed a lamp, mirror and textile that change hues when met with different stimuli. Each home accessory is paired with a sensor connected via Wi-Fi. When the sensor is met with stimuli, such as breath, touch, or movement, the partner product reacts by changing colour.

Household’s takeout:

Products with sensory capabilities highlight the user’s own senses, creating a highly interactive and engaging space.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of the latest experience-related innovations and what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients. See an example issue. If you’d like to know more, please email


1A St. James’s shortlisted for EuroShop Award

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

We’re delighted that the flagship experience we created for Dunhill, 1A St.James’s Street, has been shortlisted for a EuroShop RetailDesign Award.

The RetailDesign Awards showcase the most successful store concepts internationally in connection with EuroShop, the world’s biggest retail trade fair.

We find out if it’s a winner in mid-March. And next week we’re set to find out whether 1A St.James’s Street has won gold, silver or bronze at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.

Wish us luck…


This month we visited…

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

January was busy month for store visits. Here’s what we saw…

Harringay Local

On a typical North London street, Harringay Local is a convenience store that is attempting to stand out as something different. First impressions of the façade certainly communicate a more contemporary positioning, but we were curious to find out more…

What Worked Well

The small space is well designed, using a combination of natural and industrial materials to create an environment that feels both rustic and contemporary. These design elements complement the food selection, which consists of organic and locally sourced essentials, as well as a number of quirky, niche products like vinyl records, obscure craft beers, and Australian sweets. In effect, this convenience store feels more like the well-stocked pantry of a hip neighbour, than a supermarket’s take on a convenience format.

What Could Work Better

As a mixed-use space containing both a convenience shop and a record store, signage would be useful to delineate the separate spaces and to educate customers on the shop’s unique concept. There is an opportunity within the shop to emphasise the relationship between food and music, perhaps by creating pairings by season or occasion.

Our Takeout

By providing a convenience store that offers pantry staples as well as niche and off-beat products, this locally owned shop successfully reflects the personality of its owners, and also of the needs and tastes of its customers. As such, the carefully selected products are tools that build camaraderie and community between the shop and its customers.


Decathlon is a sporting goods store known for its breadth of product sold at competitive prices. The retailer is trying to make their online and offline shopping experiences more convenient by offering a new click and collect service. Household paid a visit to their pop-up location in Old Street tube station to explore how this service was offered and communicated.

What worked

The Old Street location is convenient and accessible for Londoners working in the city who want to pick up items purchased online. The store also provides computers for customers to browse Decathlon’s selection of products, allowing online shopping to be done on site and collected later.

What could work better

The store was very technology heavy, offering computers for browsing and a Nintendo Wii game that customers could play while trying on a new brand of ski goggles. However, there were few staff to guide customers through these experiences, leaving unanswered questions about the service, and uncertainty about the technology.

Our Takeout

When offering a new service such as click and collect, or showcasing a new kind of product like the ski goggles, it’s important that staff are well equipped to answer questions, and appear confident in their knowledge. Despite the focus being on technology, customer service is still a crucial aspect of a pleasurable and convenient retail experience.

Sourced Market

Sourced Market has opened a new pop-up shop inside Old Street tube station offering its usual array of healthy snacks, and homemade treats.

What worked

Advertised on the front window are the words ‘Retox” and “Detox” encouraging customers to visit to shop and either indulge in locally sourced comfort foods, or fuel up healthy, nourishing snacks. The concept is clever, fresh, and well timed, since January is the season that people commit to (and then break) strict diets.

What could work better

Despite ‘Retox’ and ‘Detox’ being a fresh concept, the communication of the concept throughout the store and across the items was lacking. Also, the transition from the day to night menu could have been better implemented. Although platters and alcohol were available at night, there was not adequate seating and tables to accommodate evening diners. Could there have been a flexible kit that could change from day to night?

Our Takeout

A pop-up is a great opportunity to trial new concepts in new locations and glean customer insight. However, it is equally important to bring the same attention to detail across the environment, communications, and the quality of the product offer and service.


Household Hot Pick 25

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Virtual Adventure

Merrell | US

To launch Merrell’s latest hiking boot, customers can participate in a virtual reality experience via Oculus Rift, taking in panoramic mountain top views and walking along hilltop ridges, giving customers a taste of where the boots can take wearers to. The experience was hosted during the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Household’s takeout:

In-store virtual experiences are an effective way of experiencing products in the setting they
are designed for, but consider how the virtual experience can feel integrated into the reality of the in-store environment.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


CES 2015: showcasing our connected future

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

In early January Household went on an amazing and turbulent journey into the future of technology, namely the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas..

This year, the show was even bigger, but more importantly showed more breadth in terms of categories, crowned “the most diverse CES yet”. The show has grown from mainly showing off what’s next for TV-screens, PCs and DVD players (as was the case only a few years ago) to demonstrate how technology can potentially improve just about every aspect of customer’s life, making CES matter more than ever.

Amongst a sea of exciting and eye-opening innovations and a packed schedule of insightful talks, here are our highlights and some key themes that were on everyone’s lips:

The wearable-tech revolution is here

Wearables are moving from just providing personal health data – such as ‘you took x steps today’ or ‘you slept badly’, to provide actionable insights – with the helping hand of advanced science. This potentially solves the problem of many users abandoning devices after just six months. .


An example of this is Wellograph, a smart watch that visualises your pulse in real time and through HRV (heart rate variability) scanning. Its ‘Readiness’ feature tells you if you should do more exercise or need some rest.


Swarowski addressed another issue that is preventing wearables from being fully embraced by the mainstream – devices being too geeky. It presented a collection of stunning jewellery that was seamlessly embedded with Misfit’s fitness and health tracking technology.


Intel’s Curie platform; a tiny mini-clip launched during the show demonstrates how sensors – the power solution for wearable tech, are shrinking which means devices can be smaller and look like normal objects.

From Internet of Things to Internet of Everything

Technology will not just be around your wrist- a ‘long tail’ of wearables are starting to emerge, from eye-tracking technology glasses to tennis rackets with built-in sensors. Adding to this are smart cars, smart homes and even smart makeup. The message was clear: we are, or soon will be, connected everywhere.

In the home, the average number of connected devices continues to grow – CCS Insight estimated that there are currently about nine devices per household in Western Europe, with industry experts predicting that this figure could rise to 30-50 per household in the future. It came as no surprise therefore that multiple brands – from big brands to new start-ups were all fighting to “own” the future home at the show.

There was talk about a ‘secret war’ between Apple and Google, but the game is open to all- there has been “a real democratisation’ of technology at CES this year”,“, driven by crowd funding sites such as Kickstarter.


One brand that showed the most potential for retail was Wemo, Belkin’s home automation system and NetCam HD camera that helps customers monitor the home from a smartphone or tablet. Its simplicity in communicating various products is reminiscent of Ikea – simple, visual information so customers can understand the full process by themselves. Another clever touch of the branding was using customer speak, repeating the term ‘Can I Wemo that?’.

Simplicity and open systems

The breakthrough moment for customers will be when smart devices communicate with one another and are supported by an open network. Why? People want to feel free, and things to work just like ‘magic’, said CNET’s executive editor Rich Brown. For example, imagine that your activity tracker can communicate with your smoothie-maker, that will make a personalised drink based on how much energy you have just consumed. This will soon be possible, as seen at Fitbit’s 360- degree demo.

Simplicity is a big decision-making driver for customers. They are more likely to choose a brand that not only presents an intuitive and beautiful front-end product but one that can communicate clearly how the product will work from a back-end perspective in a less intimidating way. Scott Burnett, Director of Global Consumer Electronics at IBM added that functionality should be on top of the list for brands. Point of inspiration is point of delivery – it must be that simple for The Internet of Things to evolve and take off.

Security above all

Not just smart, a connected world must be safe. Security will help people buy into smart homes, said Arthur Ordona, Chief Innovation Officer at ADT, who also talked about “security by design”that should be built into the product from the beginning.

Monitoring your home away from home was a big topic. Many new home-management systems are incorporating surveillance cameras that send live footage straight to the owner’s smartphone. For example, home brand Netamo’s newest release was a camera that uses facial recognition technology to distinguish family and friends from intruders.


The careful handling of personal data is crucial to convince customers of the benefits of the burgeoning world of Internet of Everything. They need to be able to trust brands with their data. Caution and responsibility by the sector as a whole is important moving forward, concluded CNET’s Executive editor, Rich Brown.

Our view

There are still clearly many barriers to be solved for the Internet of Everything to explode into the mainstream. Customers need to be educated beyond product with a message that simplifies complexity, especially with the ever-increasing number of tech products flooding the market.

And how can you educate customers? Engaging, clear demos using customer speak encourage customers to try out new technology in-store. When they are presented within a (personalised) story, it brings the benefits to life in an everyday context rather than presenting technology as part of a too futuristic, detached experience. Whilst customers are likely to start their journey online, it was made clear by all the engaging demos at the show just how important it is to experience products and solutions first-hand (in-store) to really understand them – which ultimately will make customers buy.


Household’s Hot Pick 24

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our Hotlist, this week covering the latest innovation and inspiration we saw at CES 2015…


Seizing Every Moment

Narrative Clip | US
Narrative Clip 2 is a small camera that clips onto clothing and snaps a picture every 30 seconds. The second edition, launched at CES, is equipped with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to automatically upload photos in the Narrative Service cloud rather than using USBs, which was the case of the previous version.

Household’s takeout:

The widespread behaviour of capturing every moment and sharing it online can interrupt the immediate enjoyment of an experience. This camera seamlessly integrates picture-taking in to any experience, liberating the user to be more present in the moment.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 23

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


A Golden Ticket To Shopping Dreams

Airbnb | France
Airbnb has partnered with Galeries Lafayette in Paris for its latest ‘A Night At…’ initiative, which granted exclusive, over-night access to 6 lucky guests. Arriving the night before the sale, the guests were given a private tour of the store, advice from a personal shopper and €200 to spend in the sale the following morning. The activity was designed to unlock places where it has never been possible to spend the night.

Household’s takeout:

This event delights customers with the physical shopping experience and offers them a unique experience that online cannot offer.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 22

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


The Art of Insurance

Beagle Street | UK
Life insurance company Beagle Street have launched limited edition prints as part of their ‘Never Lost Guarantee’, where customers receive their life insurance policy on the back of a piece of art. The prints are intended to be hung in the home, following research that next of kin often can’t make life insurance claims due to lost documentation.

Household’s takeout:

This campaign is a creative response to a compelling insight, adding an element of surprise to the tedious process of taking out life insurance. Could this same logic be applied to receipts or guarantees to make them coveted objects that are treasured and not lost?

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 21

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

The Tills Are Alive

Edeka | Germany
Amongst the plethora of Christmas advertisements, German supermarket chain Edeka created a seasonal, symphonic shopping experience. In one store, the beep noises of nine checkouts harmonized to play the Christmas tune, “Jingle Bells”. A video of the performance has gone viral on YouTube, generating over 17 million views, closing in on John Lewis’ ‘Monty the Penguin’ ad at 21 million views.

Household’s takeout:

An in-store experience so delightful that customers and staff participate, clapping along. It is so unique and joyful that it is worthy of social sharing, growing brand awareness without the hefty price tag of a big budget campaign.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Black Friday – the new Advent Sunday?

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Online shoppers spent up to £500,000 a minute on last week’s “Manic Monday”, eclipsing both Black Friday’s and Cyber Monday’s online sales estimations on the last Monday for guaranteed Christmas delivery (Experian/IMRG).

Black Friday marked the start of this discounting season, with online sales exceeding estimates by 46 per cent, coming in at £810m; £90m higher than Cyber Monday.

Post-Black Friday, the discounts continue as retailers battle it out for their share of the Christmas wallet, with The Saville Row Company continuing the promotional code ‘CYBER’ for a 22% discount on all stock and ASOS offering a 20% discount across selected stock.

Customers now expect to buy Christmas gifts at discount, as the discounting calendar rises above the traditional advent calendar to be top-of-mind for deal-savvy customers, with fulfilment expected right up to December 24th.

Our View

As delivery options grow, securing sales before postal network deadlines is not such a key priority. The push is to secure share of wallet at the start of the discounting season, planning for massive peaks in demand, and using the right channels to engage customers around deals.

It has been the biggest year yet for online shopping, driven by customers’ confidence in fulfilment options such as click-and-collect. As online shopping continues to grow, our view is that retailers would be wise to partner with start–up delivery services such as US Postmates to bring customers whatever they want, wherever they are, in as short as a 1-hour window.

Waitrose are already trialling a partnership with By Box, offering refrigerated click–and–collect lockers at Gatwick Airport. Train stations are another high footfall location, with Argos opening their first ‘Argos Collect’ store at Cannon St tube station.

If retailers do not offer convenient delivery options, start-up couriers pose a real threat by fulfilling orders quickly and flexibly themselves, shopping on behalf of customers and becoming the holders of valuable customer data.

To meet the customer expectation for convenience, home delivery could be offered from in-store too – especially helpful for customers purchasing heavier items, or where car ownership is lower. Square footage could be maximised with exterior click-and-collect lockers for 24/7 collection, as currently trialled by Asda.

As expectations for convenience elevate, it’s about offering customers what they want, how they want, and where they want it – whether online, in-store or from a mobile location.


Household’s Hot Pick 20

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Take-Home Tutorial

YSL & Selfridges | UK
Selfridges has partnered with YSL Beauté to offer customers Google Glass tutorials in-store. Make- up artists wear the device while applying looks allowing the process to be digitally captured from the perspective of the professional. Customers are then emailed the personalised video with ‘before’ and ‘after’ images and a list of recommended products.

Household’s takeout:

YSL is creating an experience that lives beyond the store – a personalised tutorial to take home, that customers can return to again and again.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 19

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Experiential Banking

Umpqua | USA
Umpqua bank in Portland opened an interactive art exhibit lasting three weeks to entice new customers. Visitors entered a dome where a motion-activated immersive screen produced beautiful visuals of nature. The idea was inspired by “finances being an essential part of how we grow and what we’re able to build in life”.

Household’s takeout:

Whilst this is a great customer experience, is it an appropriate brand activation for a bank? It feels exciting but does it garner trust?

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Wired Retail: thoughts on the future

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

At the end of November, Household attended the fascinating Wired Retail Conference in Canary Wharf, London, to hear what the technovators and retailers themselves had to say about everything from fashion ecommerce to how the simple act of buying something will become hyper convenient for customers.

Here’s what we heard:

Shops are where we shop

Incredibly, only 10% of retail sales in the Western world take place online – and even less globally. Yes, that’s right: 90% of purchases are still made in stores. Several speakers also emphasised that retail is still retail and shouldn’t always be looked at through the omni-channel lens.

Why? Because, as J Skyler Fernandes of Simon Venture Group told, conversion rates in stores are 20 to 30%, where those online are more like 3%. This is because customers will buy more on impulse in store, and because online is more hyper-targeted, with customers often knowing what they want before they open their browser.

Ross Bailey, MD of Appear Here, told of how 77% of 16- to 24-year-olds prefer shopping on the high street to online – and that 50% said they’d open a real shop than a digital one. However, this ever-coveted group (the millennials) continues to frustrate retailers, admitting that it enjoys shops for ‘learning, playing and sharing’ – but not necessarily for buying.


The future is a tech-amped version of the now

Brian David Johnson, Futurust at Intel Corporation said that we often look at the future uncomfortably, assuming it’ll lose its humanity and become streamlined and droid-driven.

Not so. According to Johnson it’ll be as it is now, just augmented by technology. With the reduction of a chip to 0, absolutely anything will be able to be a computer, and devices and algorithms will communicate without us – some without screens.

This sounds pretty robotic, but the development of widespread artificial intelligence still relies heavily on the imagination of people (which Johnson remarks is the only thing that holds us back) to reach its full potential.

Experience is ever important

Even in the future, physical shops will have a stronghold. The high street has already adapted to how important experience is to customers – if they’re not going for the convenience of online, they’ll want something in exchange for it: an experience that can’t be achieved in the virtual world.

Pop-ups have been an important part of this for retailers – they can test the water on ideas, and do something that matches today’s short attention spans.

Scott Malkin of Value Retail perfectly summed this up, saying: “retail is about experience that makes memories”, and that “Value Retail thinks about retail as destinations – as you would in tourism and hospitality – where the experience is central.”

He explained that while many online brands are opening real life stores to define and communicate who they are, conversely some are closing physical shops to focus on ecommerce, and finding they’re failing at it because they are not online companies.

The key, says Malkin, is adopting a “long-haul resort hospitality model”, plus constant reinvention of the experience to differentiate yourself from copycats.


People still matter

A clutch of fashion apps – proof of the way in which online is being superseded by mobile (i.e. fast, and with style) – is paving the way for mobile social commerce.

Rather than slickening out its experience with FAQs and automated this and that, Etsy has always put people first. In fact, even on its product pages, Etsy places ‘Ask a Question’ before its ‘Add to Cart’ buttons.

People love the provenance of what they buy from Etsy and the community feeling there, and they’re willing to pay more for it – a fact reflected by retail buyers such as Liberty sourcing from the site for their stores.

So a story counts. ‘Real’ counts. And Etsy isn’t the only place where this is in evidence. Depop is a fashion app that’s about ‘buying and selling with the excitement of social networking’.

Likened in the media to “Ebay and Instagram having a baby”, it puts the social element back into shopping. Emulating real markets, where the reputation of a seller is of the utmost importance, here too, it’s all about people.


Insta-delivery (well, almost) is crucial

Delivery times were a big discussion point and any retailers failing to address and offer short delivery options will alienate their customers. Before too long, it’s not going to be enough to offer click & collect.

But how to do something faster? It’s down to courier companies such as Shutl (acquired by Ebay last year), which are already springing up – especially in the States.

Sending their guys to physically go and buy the item you want from a store, they can get what you want to your home far faster than a warehouse-based, logistics-heavy online retailer – however slick the latter might be.

Two points to consider here:

1) This way of shopping will massively impact online sales

2) Valuable customer data will be transferred to the hands of the couriers, because customers won’t be doing the shopping themselves.


Payment details

There was a lot of talk around the Block Chain, which enables Bitcoin and other ‘value exchange protocols’. This would universalise online shopping, because it’s about open-source payments (to get to grips with this, think about how expensive it used to be to build a website until open-source software was launched that allows anyone to do it themselves).

Brock Pierce of Crypto Currency Partners claimed that “the block chain will have a bigger impact than the Internet” because it requires no bank or card – and because currently only 25% of the world can shop online.

But it’s peer-to-peer and is not government owned – and whether governments would approve it is another matter.


Our view

While retail’s technological innovations were obviously the focus, the Wired Retail conference also managed to reinforce our view of the overarching importance of customer experience in ALL channels. Increasingly, customers aren’t thinking about individual channels – and retailers shouldn’t be either.

Convenience is becoming more important than ever to retail – and it’s going beyond click & collect, towards shorter delivery times and more instantaneous fulfilment. Brands will have to pay close attention to this curve to stay ahead of it.

But the most important takeaway from this techno feast of insight, is that the idea that physical retail is dying is a myth. It’s changing, but it’s not only still here, it’s still highly relevant.


Storytelling and localism bringing new life to “non-places”

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

In 1995, French anthropologist Marc Augé wrote about the rise of homogenised “non-places” where we spend much of our time: airports, supermarkets, railway stations and international hotel chains.

These familiar places, he argues, are both “everywhere and nowhere”, lacking the character and significance to be regarded as a “place”. He goes on to explain that a “non-place” exists outside of history, relations and identity. Therefore, these spaces are devoid of both emotion and memory, resulting in a sense of anonymous solitude and an illusion of being “part of some grand global scheme in an utopian city-world”.

As harsh and unsettling as Augé’s observations might sound, they may ring true to many. Passing through an airport can feel like a necessary pain en route to the final destination, and it’s noticeable that the airport doesn’t feature much in people’s Instagram holiday-brags. Similarly, going grocery shopping is mostly a transactional routine and an unremarkable experience, unless the service was particularly bad.


But thanks to innovative travel and retail concepts, these “non-places” are starting to evolve into cultural, emotive and more memorable places. Last month, Helsinki airport launched The Relaxation Area, a pilot initiative by Vantaa Innovation Institute that challenges conventional airport standards. The area offers silence chairs, pods and sleeping tubes to all passengers (not just VIPs), and has been designed to reflect elements of Finnish nature, such as ice and snow.

“The luxury and excitement should start already at the airport” said Marjukka Holopainen-Rainio, Project Manager of Airport Concepts at Vantaa Innovation Institute. “People need and deserve some indulgence and that’s what the Relaxation Area is offering”.

Another project – The TravelLab – launched earlier this year (also at Helsinki airport), introduced services including yoga classes, crash courses on Finnish coffee culture and pop-up restaurants treating travellers to a taste of Finland. These projects have received positive customer feedback therefore The TravelLab is looking into making these services permanent, as well as expanding into other airports nationwide.


In the supermarket arena, shoppers are increasingly looking for convenience and value but offering these things alone are not enough to build brand loyalty. According to research from IGD ShopperVista, shoppers are now using four different grocery shops on average each month. When carrying out a vox pop, a supermarket customer has even told us that she often doesn’t remember which shop she’s just visited without looking at the shopping bag. This experience is a great anecdote that supports Augé’s theory of a homogenised non-place.


However, an alternative style of supermarket is emerging that is turning routine into anticipation and discovery, giving customers more real reasons to visit a physical store. Spar in East London is a great example of incorporating local culture and discovery, but it’s of course easier to turn a small store into a warmer and more personable place. Tesco Watford Extra proves that large-scale supermarkets don’t have to offer a linear, list-focused customer journey but can appeal to a “discovery” focused mind-set. We did this for Tesco by placing GM categories including homeware alongside food, creating a memorable, and identity-building shopping experience.


Our View
Localism in retail is a familiar concept, but an important one that people will continue to appreciate because it adds to the identity, history and richness of a place – the opposite of a non-place.

Within the travel industry, the desire for a local experience is an emerging new trend. These new airport initiatives offer a taste of local culture, before even getting to the destination, making the departures area part of the holiday experience. Beyond local, storytelling, experiential elements and a personal, human service are other appealing attributes that help add significance, differentiation and character to a place, overturning the notion of a supermarket or airport as a “non-place”.


Retail Week Interiors Awards 2014: Household’s designs for Halfords and Wine Rack win

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

We were thrilled to sweep up two fantastic awards last night at the Retail Week Interiors Awards: Best Small Store Design of the Year for Wine Rack, and Non-Food Design of the Year for Halfords.

Household’s brand refresh and total store redesign for Wine Rack beat 10 strong competitors to win Best Small Store, fulfilling the category’s search for projects >200sq m that are ‘innovative, demonstrably successful, and the kind of place that shoppers are going to want to come back to.’

The Wine Rack store at West Byfleet is about ‘breathing new life into wine’. It fills the gap between supermarket wine deal shopping and fine wine merchants, offering an informal, informed and inclusive take on wine buying, and has become the blueprint for all future Wine Rack stores.

Household’s concept for Halfords also came first in one of the most crowded and competitive categories. The ’50:39′ concept has a new mission of ‘We take you further’ which breathes through everything from service to inspiration. The store design moves Halfords from being the go-to place in an emergency to be the place to start an adventure.

Neil Mellors, Head of New Store Formats at Halfords said, “For Halfords, we were a place where your dad used to shop, and then these guys came along, sprinkled their magic dust over the top of it and we’ve got a superb shop now, that our customers and our colleagues are really proud of.”

Household wasn’t only present at the awards as a contender. Our managing director, Julie Oxberry, also took a seat on a judging panel that included Simon Cochrane, Director of Westfield; Teresa Clark, Head of Store Design & International Store Development at Marks & Spencer; and Simon Threadkell, Tesco’s Design, Format and Planning Director, among others.

We’d like to extend warm congratulations to all the other evening’s winners. See the full list of Retail Week Award Winners 2014.


1A St. James’s wins 2015 DBA Design Effectiveness Award

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

There’s an air of happiness and pride at Household HQ today, because we’ve just discovered that we’ve won a DBA Design Effectiveness Award for the irresistible flagship experience we created at 1A St. James’s for Dunhill Tobacco of London Ltd.

This ‘spiritual home’ for the brand has reinvented the way tobacco is sold, placing it in an environment that blends traditional and modern rituals. It’s a uniquely curated experience that blends an exceptional product with expert advice and perfect service.

Awarded by the Design Business Association, these awards are highly coveted within the industry for being given out in recognition of design that has created measured business growth. We won’t find out until February whether it’s gold, silver or bronze, but we’re very pleased to know it’ll be one of them.

Judging for the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2015 kicked off this September, headed by chairman Andrew Summers. On the panel are business leaders and brand creatives including Dan Germain, Group Head of Brand and Creative at Innocent; Colin Burns, Executive Creative Director – Future Media for the BBC, and Maggie Hodgetts, Head of Graphic Design at Waitrose. Summers comments: “I look forward to [the panel’s] judgment, wisdom – and strong opinions.”

Dunhill’s 1A St. James’s Street is outperforming expectations on every level, so we hold high hopes for February. Unlike any other awarding body, the DBA uses commercial data as the key judging criteria – as well as proof of a close collaborative working relationship between the agency and the client.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for gold, and wish all the other shortlisted winners all the best for February too.


Household’s work for Tesco wins at the IGD and POPAI awards

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

We’re thrilled to say our store design concept for Tesco GM won two big awards this October – as part of Tesco Watford’s IGD Innovative Store of the Year award, and winning bronze in POPAI’s Flagship & Store category.

The IGD Awards celebrate the best of the best in the food and consumer goods industry. The high-profile accolade awarded to Tesco Watford features Household’s General Merchandise ‘store within store’.

Speaking about the Tesco Watford concept, Angus MacIver, CEO of sponsor McCurrach UK, said: “To design this store, Tesco took its vision for the future of grocery and worked backwards. They took the time to understand different shopping missions and the changing ways that people are buying.”

The GM solution we created is based on customer insight and designed to appeal to the shopping mission of Tesco’s core family shopper – the busy mum often shopping with her children. To tempt her in to the GM areas, the central concept is ‘inspiring everyday living’, eliciting a stronger emotional connection between the products and their role in her life.


Our GM concept won as a standalone project at the POPAI awards, entered into the Flagship & Store category by shopfitter HMY Radford. The awards recognise the very best in Point Of Purchase (P-O-P) and shopper marketing.

Our winning concept offers a new customer experience; less supermarket and more department store. It challenges the typical grocery routine mindset into one of discovery. GM is harder to avoid, and it makes for a more intuitive shop for customers.

As Paul Jones, Head of Design for Tesco said of our work, “the new design has revolutionised attitudes and changed customers’ perception of how they want to do supermarket shopping.” We’re delighted it’s been so successful for Tesco, and very excited to see it recognised by these awards.


Household chows down at ‘human flesh’ burger pop-up Terminus Tavern

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Last week FOX TV held a pop-up in East London that posed a rather grim and grisly question: what is the taste of human flesh? The answer was delivered in a takeaway box, offered free to the first 250 curious cannibals who dared to try it – among which were several brave Householders.

The event was a partnership between FOX and Messhead (itself a collaboration between London Mess chef James Thomlinson and creative director Miss Cakehead), to promote the upcoming new season of American zombie drama ‘The Walking Dead‘.

After extensive research into historic accounts of cannibalism, chef Thomlinson selected meats that, combined, could replicate the taste of human flesh as realistically as possible, with the final result a mixture of minced pork, veal and bone marrow.


The pop-up’s physical space – the decked outside area of a bar – was a little underwhelming, dressed with the odd plastic dismembered limb; staff in torn, ‘blood’-stained clothes; and legal declarations stating that FOX does not endorse the practice of cannibalism.

On the plus side, a great infographic takeaway provided people with plenty of gruesome gross-out cannibal facts. But the real star of the show was the burger itself – delicious, whether it tastes like grilled buttock or not. Despite being centred on an unappetising activity that pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable, the experience overall was delivered in a way that was nevertheless…ahem…tasteful.


Beyond its obvious headline-grabbing promotion for the show, the Terminus Tavern exercise highlighted the importance of ‘fandoms’ and fan culture for brands. Social media engagement was reasonably strong from ‘The Walking Dead’ fans, amplifying the event and therefore publicity for the show. #TerminusTavern was trending with 100-plus images shared on Instagram and over 150 tweets and retweets. Boundaries may have been pushed, but so was FOX’s message – far and wide.

The response to the Terminus Tavern demonstrates customers’ rising curiosity. Many are increasingly willing to try new things and gravitate towards the weird and wonderful just for the Instagram picture and subsequent ‘likes’.

But what of the burger itself? Well we can report that the meat was tender and juicy, probably due to the presence of bone marrow, but that it (thankfully) had no distinct, strong taste.

Suffice to say none of us are having cravings for the real thing…


Smart dummies – shiny new (i)beacons?

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

A year after Apple introduced its iBeacon – and the Washington Post declared it had the potential to ‘change the world forever’ – the technology behind iBeacons is once again big news.

This summer saw Hawes & Curtis, House of Fraser, and Bentalls all announce their utilisation of VMBeacon, a product by new technology and design company Iconeme. Enabled in retailers’ store window mannequins, this uses the same low-energy Bluetooth technology as iBeacon to transmit content about the looks they’re dressed in to the smartphones of people passing by.

The new location awareness technology delivers alerts to users who come within 50 metres of the mannequins, delivering detailed images and product descriptions to their smartphones, as well as looks for later, location of items in store, links to their pages online, and offers and rewards.

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Meanwhile, supermarkets are opening up to iBeacon itself. Tesco is taking a softly-softly approach at its Chelmsford store and, fearful of scaring customers off, is currently only using it to remind customers to collect pre-ordered items.

But Waitrose appears more gung-ho in its iBeacon trial in Swindon, taking the promotional path to send shoppers alerts when they draw near specific aisles and counters. Its app will also allow for the scanning of barcodes to reveal product reviews and to place items in a virtual shopping basket. It can even be used to pay.

Meanwhile, in the US, experimenting with the technology has been even more widely adopted. Walgreens, Macy’s, Walmart and Lord and Taylor are tinkering with ways to use it to deliver deals, discounts and offers to customers as they arrive within store, making spending more likely to happen.

And it’s not just the retail world that’s open to the technology. Virgin Atlantic is already using iBeacons to smooth its Upper Class passengers’ path through London Heathrow, by alerting them of when to open their electronic boarding pass for scanning. The airline has big plans for where to push the technology for an overall seamless passenger experience. San Francisco Airport also recently announced it is trialling iBeacons to help visually impaired people navigate its new terminal.

But will users find this technology essential or irritating? Because whether it’s cutting edge or not, it’ll only be used if it’s useful.


For brands the pros are obvious: utilised sensitively, intelligently, and creatively, the technology can bring the right customers to their stores. It can give instant feedback about what works in displays, as well as about products themselves. It also provides the opportunity for sales 24 hours a day, making it what Iconeme calls ‘a constant interactive selling point’.

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Other sectors working with the technology include:

– Museums looking to tailor their interactive guides to visitors based on location within the space and even age
– Digital publishers making magazines available on phones where they’re needed (think coffee shops and doctors surgeries)
– Business events using them to help people find each other and network

If the list of examples is starting to look exhaustive, it still comes down to people and whether they’ll use it. And so to…


First, there are privacy issues – yes people can tailor what companies can see from their phones, but unless they’re right on it, private information they may not want to share could get into the wrong hands.

Then there’s grassroots practicality. Customers need to have Bluetooth turned on, and in most cases they need to have downloaded an app. If there isn’t one app for all stores (i.e. if brands buy into different versions of the technology, or develop their own apps as shopping centre landlord Hammerson has), it could become unwieldy for consumers to manage. Just as when they shop ‘normally’ in physical stores, things have to be easy to use and manage, or people become bored and give up.

Finally – and Household’s biggest reservation – there is also a chance that people will reject the very idea of the iBeacon for fear of feeling spammed should it become widely adopted by retailers. The very idea of their phones (and those of everyone around them) beeping with every step they take down the high street has the very real ability to leave consumers cold.

Besides all this, not every retailer is welcoming the technology with open arms. Ted Baker, which gained column inches recently for its successful website overhaul and e-commerce expansion into the US, is not interested in what it calls ‘alien’ technology. This is a brand that’s taking it back to the (relatively) old school, with plans to engage customers with good, rich blog content. And this could still be the most successful way to engage customers. Because there is much to be said for content feeling less like it’s given and more like it’s discovered.

Household’s view

iBeacons offer evident benefits for brands, but the benefits to customers must be clearly communicated too – offering them the choice to opt in or not. And when they do, the experience should seamlessly add nothing but value to their shopping experience.


The ACPC: How passenger experience can take off in aviation

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

It’s fitting that, in order to attend September’s four-day annual Air Carriers Purchasing Conference (ACPC) in Washington DC, Household had to board a plane.

And it was fortuitous, too. Because heading into airspace put us in the right headspace for what was a clear and important snapshot of the challenges facing the airline industry today. We gleaned essential insights into where aviation is travelling towards from those operating within it: its buyers, its engineers and its planners, joined by aviation consultants and members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Despite customers still plumping for value over perks, after price it’s the perks that differentiate airlines from their competitors. The airline industry is an arena in which brands really need to know their customers – profiling is essential, not only for airlines to target their future customer experience design, but so that the wider industry (airports and hotels specifically) can tailor their services to the customers of those airlines that fly to and from them.


The conference reinforced that airlines are interested in customer experience, that’s for sure. But being so confined by profit and weight restrictions means that their opportunities to connect with customers must be light in both senses. Indeed, the weight-to-profit relationship is so tightly bound that, for example, when JetBlue removed inflight magazines and six soap refills on each flight, the relatively minute weight differential saved the airline billions.

So simple experiences at the airport or in the air are what’s required. As cited as an example at the event, LAX improved customer service dramatically within three months. They did this just by upping the quality of the information relay on their website, social and digital signage on the ground. The airport also improved the essentials, with free luggage carts and WiFi, and express processing for transfer passengers – showing that a little goes a long way.

Insight-led innovation workshops such as Household runs can really benefit the aviation industry, giving airlines opportunities to build on and go beyond the customer profiling and research they’re already investing in. It’s about developing and moving the ‘who’ on, in order to focus on the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of customer experience.

Localising and humanising the experience is also essential – placing meaning on where the passenger is, even if they’re only in transit, is a golden opportunity to connect. And that connection is so important, because customers that are happy are customers that return to once again take their seats.


Household takes to the edge at The Barbican’s ‘Digital Revolution’

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Like kids entering a sweetshop, five Householders last week excitedly headed to The Barbican’s immersive and interactive Digital Revolution. The much-praised exhibition of digital creativity incorporates 14 rooms that explore games, music, filmmaking, design, fashion and art.

The moment our people stepped into the exhibition, they lost themselves to it. Time and space stand still as you’re irresistibly drawn into the history of digital culture to road test video games now considered vintage, from Pong to Pac-Man (naturally), and the original Tomb Raider for PS1.

This moves on to collaborative technology – user-created content, web art, and MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) like Minecraft interspersed with ‘birds’ made of defunct mobiles, each with its own number (phoning one causes it to ring, move and chirp).

Our group was gripped by the moving image section, which focused on the film ‘Gravity’ and its entirely digital creation long before cameras started rolling. Also part of this area was a ‘Minority Report’-style motion sensor with which to peel back layers of a Google Street view, until nothing existed but wireframes of its buildings. Other highlights included a singing ‘head’ by and artist Yuri Suzuki that changed as it sang a track composed for the exhibition, a heat sensor-like ‘digital selfie’ with Monet-like overtones, and clothing that could display tweets.


Household’s ‘Digital Revolution’ favourites were:

1) The Treachery of Sanctuary where your shadow is projected on to a screen, dispersing into the silhouettes of birds flying up and away as you move, before growing enormous wings that morph your body into that of a bird in flight.

2) Assemblance by Usman Haque where visitors play with beams of light that appear to have a mind of their own. As you move towards projected shapes on the floor they flee, while encircling the lights with others in the room traps them.

‘Digital Revolution’ is pure learning through play, illustrating the history of technology in way that makes the intangible tangible. It draws its visitors in with emotion and nostalgia, before unveiling in an intriguing way, what to expect from tomorrow. The exhibition is full of inspiration for imaginative experiential events for brands who want to offer consumers the chance to experience the exceptional.


Household’s MD Julie Oxberry to judge Retail Week Interiors Awards 2014

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in News

Our Managing Director Julie Oxberry has been asked once more to lend her finely trained eye to judging the Retail Week Interiors Awards 2014, taking her place among a panel of industry experts.

The Retail Week Interiors Awards give out some of the industry’s ultimate accolades, and its rigorous judging process means that winning a gong is proof of being the best in your field. Entry – and of course winning – means an increase in exposure for participating brands and companies.

And who will Julie be working with to decide who deserves to be named best of the best? Co-judges include, among others: Simon Cochrane, Director of Design at Westfield; Teresa Clark, Head of Store Design & International Store Development at Marks & Spencer; and Simon Threadkell, Tesco’s Design, Format and Planning Director.

Our concept store designs for Wine Rack and Halfords are shortlisted this year, the former for Best Small Store of the Year category and the latter for Non-Food Design of the Year. (But no, Julie isn’t allowed to vote for Household…)

In 2011, Household’s concept store for Dixons BLACK won the Specialist Store Design of the year, the Non-food Design of the Year and also scooped the Best Retail Interior award. Fingers crossed for a similar performance this year!

The winners will be announced on the 6th November 2014.


Hema – Household’s view on an underground world of colour

Posted on 10 March, 2015 in Viewpoint

Earlier this month, an energetic little slice of a Dutch retail giant arrived on the UK high street for the first time.

Popping with fun, innovation and quirky, own-design pieces, Hema – which some have (mistakenly) likened to a pound shop – is a wholly shoppable shout of colour… that has confusingly chosen to launch in a mall unit set under ground within Victoria Station’s retail destination, Victoria Place.

Hema has previously taken its out-there offer to France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. It has over 600 stores across Europe and the group’s Chief Executive, Ronald Van Zetten, told Retail Week that he believes the retailer’s own-brand proposition will make it stand out in the UK for its quality and pricing. “We make the ordinary extraordinary,” said Van Zetten, “creating trust because of the quality of our products.”


When Household visited the store last week we were impressed. From behind the perky messages on its vinyled windows, the store grabs customers with a clean arrangement of kitchen items and bakeware appealingly labeled ‘eat’.

Further into the store and the customer is drawn to grab-and-go bowls of cheerful trinkets – pens, post-its and clips – before hitting the beauty area, which conversely makes a statement in crisp white. Against its not-luxurious-but-not-cheap backdrop, the bold colours of the make-up stand out, while tying the range to the rest of the store. Toiletries and toy aisles thereafter follow – although toys and children’s merchandise are hidden behind a permanent pillar, hence, we believe, its prominence at the ends of aisles.


At the front of the store, the till points give customers a good sense of the brand they’re about to buy into, with screens displaying simple messages about Hema. And a prominent red wall offers up a mission statement that’s clear and to the point: ‘we do our best to surprise you with practical, original and extraordinary products.’

Speaking in stereotypes, the store is a teenage girls retail dream. But most of the customers in store during our visit were aged 19 to 35, with an elderly couple following their grandchildren around as they waited for their train.

Hema is eye-catching – to the point of irresistible ­– and passers-by will find it impossible to ignore. But that’s its biggest problem: the passers going by in the first place – or rather, the lack of them.


The 2,700 sq ft store presents just 6,000 of the brand’s 17,000-plus stock keeping units (SKUs), so it’s small on Hema’s scale. Let’s hope that when the ribbon is cut on the two-floor 4,300 sq ft store in Kingston later this month, and then at the 4,800 sq ft space in Bromley’s The Glades in July, Hema gets a good idea of the type of location that works best for its attractive, well-priced, quality offer.

Household’s opinion, however, is that this homeware store from Holland should ideally showcase its bright and brilliant products in a prominent high street spot.


Our store concept for Meny wins Bronze at Retail Prisen

Posted on 9 March, 2015 in News

We’re proud to say that our work for leading Norwegian supermarket Meny has won bronze at the Retail Prisen awards in the Retailkonsepter (Retail Concepts) category.

Retail Prisen is an initiative of Kreativt Forum, Norway’s premier trade association for creative and commercial communications in Norway.

The judges were looking for a concept that works in its entirety; a store that is greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore our work had to demonstrate a strategic concept delivered successfully in practice, showing cohesion, creativity, and commercial efficiency.

We worked with Meny from insight to on-site, creating an environment that heroes the freshness of the produce whilst offering expertise and telling a story. The design takes the customer on a journey that encourages even the most routine-led shopper to try new ingredients. Expert staff are on-hand, ready to advise and offer recommendations on Meny’s abundant and quality produce.

The retail concept offers a unified customer experience that demonstrates and delivers on Meny’s brand promise “we exist to help people eat better.” We are thrilled that it has been recognised in one of Norway’s main industry competitions.

Vegard Kjuus, CEO of Meny, commented on the winning store design:

“Household has created what will pioneer the next generation of supermarkets in Norway. All who were involved with this project appreciated Household’s strategic, commercial approach throughout the design process. The store is delivering on all the levels we need it to. It marks the start of a relationship with Household that will continue well into the future.”


Household in print: Havwoods ‘The Wood Space’ in Powershop

Posted on 9 March, 2015 in News

Print is not dead. Not when books like Powershop 4 exist.

Powershop 4 is a tome that presents a curated selection of 124 innovative shop and showroom interiors – of which wood flooring specialist Havwoods’ central London showroom, created by Household, is one.

Why is The Wood Space (as we branded it for destination appeal) included? Because just as all those featured in Powershop 4 do, it’s a retail space that shows originality, creativity, innovation and the power of ‘wow’.

The book’s 10 chapters of photographs, drawings and sketches inspire as they cover current trends while showing shops – from bakeries to boutiques, supermarkets to sneaker stores – that encapsulate brands, entice customers, and elicit an emotional response.

And for Household it’s the emotional response that’s key. It’s what we design for in every experience we work on. Because we believe that customers make decisions based on how they feel, not what they’re told.

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Introducing Paul West – and Household’s new strategic direction

Posted on 9 March, 2015 in News

We’re pleased to welcome Paul West to Household as our new Creative Strategy Director.

For 2014, there are big plans in the pipeline for Household. Our goal is simple: to maximise the potential for brands to connect with customers. And we know just how to do it – through rich, innovative, diverse customer journeys.

That’s one of the reasons for bringing in Paul, who has come to us from a creative director role at Imagination. His raison d’être at Household is to enhance our cross-sector offer, which continues to have insight and customer experience design at its heart.

As he joins us, Paul’s belief is that: “Household’s integration of insight, creative flair and the ability to deliver is a very compelling offer. I believe that enriching this with an innovative, multi-channel approach is where the agency of the future exists.”

Multi-channel customer advocacy is becoming increasingly complex, so we’re designing complete journeys, not just destinations. We’re creating great experiences that incite customers to engage with companies, brands, products, partners and people. Great experiences that can be delivered at every possible touchpoint.

Our strategic growth plan saw us open a Household in LA in 2013. It continues in 2014 with a focus on generating greater customer loyalty for those service brands that exist in intensely competitive markets. We’re talking banking, telecoms, aviation, travel, automotive, hospitality and healthcare.

This is why we’re excited Paul is joining us on our journey, as we take Household’s own customers to where they want to be.


Household’s Hot Pick 18

Posted on 1 December, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Subconscious Ordering

Pizza Hut | UK
Pizza Hut have tested a new way for customers to order their food – using their subconscious mind. Customers look at a digital menu on a screen at the table that features 20 toppings and in 2.5 seconds, eye-tracking technology determines what ingredients they have been looking at the longest and uses an algorithm to identify their preferred pizza order.

Household’s takeout:

Pizza Hut have demonstrated a unique way to reinvent the dining experience that involves no innovation within the product but the way that it is offered to customers.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


This month we visited…

Posted on 28 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s round up of new brand activities and customer experiences we’ve visited this month…

Beauty: Clinique Pop-Up Lab


The Clinique pop-up lab takes you on a three-step journey, geared towards getting customers to understand their skin type and to build a tailor-made regime.

The stages of the journey were 1. An experience bar where customers had their photos taken to predict what their skin will look like in the future; 2. An iPad questionnaire to quiz customers on their skin types; and finally 3. A consultation with a Clinique expert.

We found the digital stages 1 and 2 seemed almost a little gimmicky, with the pre-set questions on the iPad leading to only vague insights into our skin type and generalised solutions. The most exciting part was the informative face-to-face consultation at the end of the process – the only interaction that didn’t involve technology. It is this kind of tailored beauty solution that is invaluable from a customer’s perspective. Clinique really focused on the post-purchase aspect too, inviting us to book an appointment in a couple of weeks’ time to monitor how our new skin care regimes are coming along. This keeps the customer relationship ongoing and reinforces the sense that it is a personalised service.

The lab reinforces the brand’s expertise within the skincare field, providing top end tailored services to those perhaps outside their usual customer base.

Window Innovation: Rivet & Hide

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Rivet & Hide have created a unique window installation using conductive ink. Customers and passers-by can hover their hands over any of the five circular icons on the front window to listen to five separate brand stories. The installation is a great, innovative alternative to standard visual merchandising in storefronts, some of which are often static and unengaging. It particularly works for this store due to its small scale, making the interaction much more personal and inviting. Rivet & Hide manage to create a high level of interaction before you have even stepped foot in their store.

Store Format: Hardy Amies

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The new Hardy Amies store at Number 8 Savile Row takes tailoring-inspired clothing and places it in a lifestyle setting, presenting a fresh new concept for tailoring and modern menswear. The brand has created an accessible space where the store experience is much more about relaxation and conversation as opposed to a formal consultation. The store offers a high-low mix of products selling items from ready-to-wear, bespoke menswear to New Balance 1500’s and Dazed & Confused magazines – taking the tailoring house in a bold new direction.

Store Format: John Lewis Click & Commute

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John Lewis has just opened its first ‘Click and Commute’ outlet on the main concourse at London’s St Pancras. With 35 per cent of internet users saying that they had used click and collect in the last year (Mintel, 2014), John Lewis Click & Commute responds by allowing their customers to order before 8pm and collect after 2pm the following day. The store is a relatively small hub selling a mix of laptops, tablets, cameras and accessories. It may be only a fiftieth of the size of a department store, but this concept still has the John Lewis feel to it as soon as you enter the door. It specifically caters to the time-poor travelling customer whilst also taking the brand to new audiences.

Food: Selfridges Food Hall


Selfridges has revamped its food hall, focusing on freshness and introducing new concessions such as the butchers Turner & George. Alongside a fishmonger, grocer and deli counters, this is a complete space that caters for many different shoppers and needs. The new experience feels like it is aimed at affluent Londoners planning sumptuous dinner parties, or city workers wanting to pick up good quality food-to-go for lunch. With a focus on fresh produce, Selfridges is taking a step up from offering one-off gift items, introducing the prospect of carrying out an entire food shop in-store (albeit at a more luxurious price tag).


Household’s Hot Pick 17

Posted on 24 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Therapeutic Textiles

Dutch Design Week | Netherlands

During Dutch Design Week, student Alexandra Stück presented textiles infused with different herbal remedies to evoke a desired state of mind, such as being calm or focused. The aromatic liquids are blended into organic hand woven linen and released via body warmth, touch or movement. The textile fixes the therapeutic scents for up to six months.

Household’s takeout:

Whilst wearable technology is gaining momentum – often worn with the aim to improve health – this simple innovation enhances the wearer’s wellbeing in a tactile, analogue way.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 16

Posted on 17 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Shining Safety

Starry Nights | Netherlands
Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has created an illuminated cycle path inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. The artist used a special paint that charges throughout the day with sunlight and glows after dark. The project is part of research into options for sustainable and interactive technology within urban environments.

Household’s takeout:

As urban populations grow, innovative design is an effective way to develop solutions to make cities not only more sustainable, but also safer.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household in attendance: Retail Week Shop 2014

Posted on 14 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Last week Household went to Retail Week Shop, a two day retail industry conference.

Over the event we attended conversations, keynote speeches and presentations by journalists, brand marketing directors, CEOs and store development experts, all who had plenty to say about the life left in retail, where digital is taking the industry, and the future of the flagship.

Here’s what was discussed:

Retail is alive and well…

Everyone was saying it: far from killing off the high street, digital is making it work even harder. Customer experience is more important than ever, because spend in stores by omni-channel customers outshines that of those shopping physical retail spaces only. What customers won’t abide, however, is brand arrogance. And connected to this, the main area of retail in the firing line – in its current incarnation anyway – is the big box, also the only format online is negatively impacting.

Taking an adaptable approach to pushing into new areas is important in the physical arena. One brand doing this is John Lewis, whose Director of Store Development, Tim Harrison, explained the Partnership’s focus on ‘making shopping a leisure activity’ in its move into smaller formats. These include John Lewis’s first foray into travel retail at Heathrow, and its Click + Collect store at St Pancras Station – each working as the brand adapts its renowned authority to fit new sizes and purposes.


Retail is still an area of innovation and growth. For example, Transport for London is busy mapping out a retail strategy, said its Head of Retail, Stuart Anderson. Playing to its design heritage, the group is embarking on a ‘place begins at the platform’ approach towards subsidising tickets. The London Underground has a giant footfall created by 3.5 million journeys taken daily – TfL is wise to tap into this.

Engagement wins

As the industry knows, engagement is key to pulling customers in, so shops have to be more than just shops. Now they’re must blend retail, leisure and service (although more than by simply “chucking a coffee shop inside,” as described by John Ryan, Stores Editor at Retail Week).

Pets at Home’s Claire Galvin (Head of Innovation) and Caroline Newbury (Head of Store Proposition) perfectly illustrated how engagement wins with side brand Barkers. Describing the fast-paced creation of a standalone store aimed at highly engaged dog owners, their new concept was about community and trust – like ‘John Lewis for dogs’. When the hoarding went up, the store invited children to draw dogs on it and eventually it looked like dogs were queuing to get in. This built chatter, affection and anticipation around the store.


The flagship is flagging

Jigsaw CEO Peter Ruis delivered a captivating talk titled ‘The Power of Flagships’, in which he proclaimed: “Flagships are no longer relevant”. Unpacking this statement, he explained why single brand shops are inappropriate in a global market, introducing instead the ‘maverickship’, where “visual merchandising and events are the new shop fit”.

Just as does Jigsaw’s new Duke St Emporium, ‘maverickships’ should feel non-commercial – more tactile spaces devoid of photography and campaigns, where “style meets social meets culture”. “Don’t believe anyone who tells you to close your stores and just have a website,” added Ruis. “Customers crave physical contact, human interaction and the sensory experience.”


Digital must be dignified

Everyone agreed that digital mustn’t be an add-on. When Richard Cristofoli, Marketing Director of Debenhams, spoke about the £25m reimagining of Debenhams’s Sixties building on Oxford Street, he explained how despite pushing things forward with a curated editorial voice and dynamic ‘living’ façade, technology was implemented only minimally, in response to exactly how the Debenhams customer uses it. Along with free WiFi and an app, were simple digital kiosks for paying and arranging delivery – no ‘digital for digital’s sake’.

‘High street’ as a dirty term?

But although retail is still alive, in his talk about the creative-led generation, Wayne Hemingway stated that ironically it’s retail that’s killing the town centre. “A town should be much more than retail,” he said. “Our high streets are unattractive – full of betting shops and pawn brokers. It’s an affront to life and I don’t want to go near it.”

Hemingway, who champions British design and creative culture and founded fashion brand Red or Dead, cites the Design Council’s figure of £71bn as the worth of design to the UK economy. “We’re an increasingly design-aware nation. We need our towns to be like festivals – to bring colour and surprise to people’s lives.” Copenhagen’s harbour baths, Berlin’s Mitte district and the Highline in New York were given as examples.


Our view

We left the interesting presentations and conversations at Retail Week Shop feeling bolstered to see customer experience taking its rightful place at the centre of retail design – because shops are, after all, nothing without customers.

Digital may have changed the game, but the conference underlined that it can’t replace bricks and mortar as one of the most powerful ways that brands can differentiate themselves with customers. As an insight-led agency all about creating emotional connections, it was encouraging to see that brands are increasingly open to innovating to do just that.


Household’s Hot Pick 15

Posted on 10 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Immersive Mosaic

Magic Carpets | Italy
French artist Miguel Chevalier has created an interactive digital animation projected into the octagonal courtyard of Castel Del Monte in Southern Italy. The ‘Magic Carpets’ artwork is inspired by the tradition of the mosaic that has a strong presence in Italy. The pixels in the projection move with a soundtrack and react to the movements of the visitors.

Household’s takeout:

The small area surrounded by tall walls maximises the impact of this projection, creating an intense, immersive experience. The interactive element adds curiosity, making visitors dwell for longer.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 14

Posted on 3 November, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Scented Journey

NGV | Melbourne
‘Hyper-Natural: Scent from Design to Art’ is an exhibition by former New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr. Visitors wander through clustered clouds to seven scent stations that tell the history of olfactory design, highlighting perfume’s complex synthetic molecular complexion.

Household’s takeout:

Brands are starting to explore the world of scent to provide customers with a more emotive experience. This exhibition acknowledges perfume as a work of architecture, educating visitors in an inspirational way.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


This month we visited…

Posted on 28 October, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s round up of new stores and brand experiences we’ve visited this month…

Luxury: Maison Assouline


Upon entering Maison Assouline, we felt a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of London’s Piccadilly just outside. Housed in an old bank, the luxury bookstore offers a calm sanctuary of high culture and a mecca for any refined bibliophile.

The vast ground floor is home to the bookstore, a café-come-bar, gifts and a bookbinder’s workbench. Two flights of winding stairs to the top floor brought us to rooms described as “cabinets of curiosities”. Brimming with carefully curated antique treasures and rare, vintage books, everything that the eye can see is available to purchase. However, perhaps the most extravagant offer of all is the bespoke library service, where Assouline will design your dream library, from the furniture and furnishings to the books on the shelves.

Our favourite element of the experience was the rich scent wafting throughout the space. The source of the beautiful smell was Assouline perfumed candles, available to buy in-store, with five exclusive scents including wood, paper and leather. These rich fragrances help to evoke the atmosphere of an ancient library, and are a cheat’s way for customers to attain this same sense in their own homes.

Overall, Maison Assouline is not a pure celebration of reading. Instead, it focuses on high-class customers, helping them to achieve extravagance in every part of their lives. Moreover, who wouldn’t love a bespoke library?

Flagship: Hunter


With two London Fashion Week shows and now a flagship on flagship on Regent Street, Hunter has made a firm transition from festival and farm staple to fashion brand. The store is a digital take on the British countryside, referencing its familiar elements and reassigning them to the urban environment.

Large, digital screens in the windows play a mix of campaign and catwalk videos, and the LED displays continue throughout the store, showing textures such as dry stonewalls and canopies of leaves. The dry stone wall motif is continued in the basement space, with shoe boxes stacked in the same brick-like manner. Having made such a bold move with its store design, we’re excited to see where Hunter goes next.

Store Format: Argos Underground Store


Argos has opened its first ‘Argos Collect’ store in Cannon Street underground station in partnership with Transport for London. The 650 sq ft store offers convenience to time-pressed customers, and with 50,000 commuters using the station daily, it’s a very exciting opportunity.

Argos’s compact format follows a number of brands downsizing their stores to target travelling customers. Other key retailers to do so include John Lewis in London’s St Pancras station and Little Waitrose, the supermarket’s convenience format designed by Household and now rolled out nationally, including into King’s Cross and Manchester’s Piccadilly station.

We can see Argos’s new format working throughout the underground system and in stations nationally. However, the small format opportunity is bigger than the travel network only. Miniature stores offer larger format retail brands the chance to reach new audiences in places they could never normally squeeze into.

Flagship: Bally


Luxury footwear brand Bally has opened a new flagship boutique on London’s New Bond Street. Taking inspiration from an archive photograph of a 1920’s Bally store, Burgundy-coloured shoeboxes are stacked from floor to ceiling.

The first floor is dedicated to men looking for a truly bespoke experience. Customers sit down and leather is fitted around their feet to create a perfectly fitting shoe. They can choose from a range of leathers, all in a nude tone to be dyed in the desired colour, and this process can be observed in-store. The customer can choose up to three colours and exactly where on the shoe the dyed leather will feature. We love the communication of the brand’s heritage in this store and the way it celebrates the craft behind the products.


Household’s Hot Pick 13

Posted on 27 October, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Vitamin Lab

HIC | Amsterdam
HIC is a new vitamin drink and water store nestled among the red light district in Amsterdam. HIC play with the idea of light, as it is already the most important aesthetic feature of the area in the evening. Staff wear white lab coats, and customers can choose between water or Reset, HIC’s vitamin drink designed to combat hangovers.

Household’s takeout:

HIC creates a space directly linked to the surrounding area whilst standing out; presenting a futuristic health and wellness retail concept. The curated product choice is a great example of monotasking- doing one thing really well.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 12

Posted on 20 October, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Raw Materials

Persillé | Paris
This freshly slaughtered fast food restaurant is a place where the protein you’re eating is expertly butchered on site. It is the first place in Paris where you can buy fresh high quality meat, that comes directly from the farm, and is also prepared and ready to eat in front of you in-store.

Household’s takeout:

Persillé is a unique take on what the fast food industry currently provides. Combining traditional butchery design with a modern restaurant vibe, Persillé challenges the norms of fast food dining. Presenting a transparent alternative for the future.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 11

Posted on 13 October, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Situation Room

Artist & architect THEVERYMANY have infilled New York’s store front for Art & Architecture with an immersive sound and light object titled ‘situation room’. Visitors activate the installation by walking and crawling within the passageways, with the building’s facade allowing for a peek at what’s inside.

Household’s takeout:

This immersive room provides major potential for retail store fronts. Creating a unique entrance will intrigue the customer, creating curiosity about your brand and what’s inside.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household is Tensational

Posted on 8 October, 2014 in News

Last week, in celebration of turning ten, and in anticipation of our upcoming insights research piece on the next decade of customer experience design, Household hosted a fun, future-focused event.

Taking place at Shoreditch House’s Secret Garden, our evening was themed ‘multi-sensory’ to tie in with the first of the ten insights we think are going to be essential to have on your radar for the next decade. Aptly named ‘Tensational’, the night was an affair to remember, offering a glimpse into the innovations that will captivate tomorrow’s customers.



Sourcing sensory partners who are doing truly intruiging things, we created an interactive evening full of connections and discovery in which guests were surprised and delighted by experiences that touched all five senses.

Huggable lights from Harvey & John illuminated guests with something to hold on to and, when their glasses ran dry, the duo’s incredible mechanical Tropism Well gracefully bowed down to fill them again.



Meanwhile, Condiment Junkie’s sensory pods featured changing light, sound and scent to morph the taste of guests’ cocktails from sweet to sour upon entry. A paper workshop with Studio BOO stirred everyone’s creative side, resulting in beautifully wild and wearable adornments including fascinators, corsages, belts and bows.



This is what a couple of our guests had to say:

Thank you very much for one of the coolest events ever last Thursday. The venue, the layout and the general vibe just smacked of your sophisticated style. It was brilliant.

What a fantastic evening! Everything was wonderful – company, drink, food, venue, as well as the strange and magical objects.

We want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came and experienced Tensational with us. It was a multi-sensory success and a fantastic kick-off for what’s going to be a fascinating piece of research both to carry out, and hopefully to be enlightened by.

Here’s to growing older innovatively.



Household’s Hot Pick 10

Posted on 6 October, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Scientific Beauty


Beauty technology brand GENEU analyse customer DNA to tailor anti-ageing products based on their individual needs. The high street lab in London invites customers to submit a DNA sample, which is analysed to seek the genetic variations and identify how their skin will age. A bespoke, personal skincare range is then produced.

Household’s takeout:

In a crowded market GENEU set themselves apart by bringing scientific beauty to a commercial retail environment. Customers are taken on a personal journey from pre purchase to post, initially discovering individual issues and providing tailored product solutions.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 9

Posted on 30 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Connected Print

C&A | Brazil

Those who ‘liked’ Brazil’s largest fast fashion store C&A on Facebook received the latest edition of Contigo Magazine with an accompanying interactive C&A supplement. In partnership with Microsoft, the magazine let’s you ‘like’ your favourite new look directly on the page, which is then sent to a display in-store showing the most popular outfit.

Household’s takeout:

This is one of the first examples of printed media directly connecting to the store via social networks. What does this imply for future brand advertising? Combining print and digital with an in-store experience will enhance customer engagement in a completely new way.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 8

Posted on 23 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Vertical Climbing Wall

IKEA | France

IKEA has turned an entire apartment into a vertical climbing wall in an installation to celebrate its 30th store opening in France. The Swedish retailer turned a mock-up apartment on its head which saw an array of furniture secured to a billboard that doubled up as a climbing wall.

Household’s takeout:

IKEA has created a fun outdoor space where selling products is not the prime objective. By creating an engaging oversized installation the brand are integrating themselves into the French community and raising brand awareness in an immersive way.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 7

Posted on 17 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…

15.09.14 _01_Story Image

Inflatable Fairytale

MOMA | Korea

Visitors to Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art can now frolic over and amongst a field of mushroom-shaped inflatables based on the landscape of a Korean fairy tale. It aims to transcend the hustle & bustle of the human world of joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure.

Household’s takeout:

With people constantly looking for an escape from the norm, this installation plays with the scale of an everyday object allowing users to think about life in an abstract way. How could you use this idea of escapism to engage with your customers’ thoughts?

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


This month we visited…

Posted on 15 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s round up of new stores and brand experiences we’ve visited this month…

Supermarket: Netto­­

Sainsbury’s has partnered with Danish discount chain Netto to reintroduce the Scandinavian grocery store back in to the UK market. Fifteen stores are being trialled in the North of England – we visited the Sheffield store for a look round…


What Works Well

In-store signage conveys a sense of high quality freshness, for example “Chilled for freshness” above fruit and vegetables and “Freshly baked throughout the day” at the bakery. Great communications hang above the freezers that tell the story of their meat, emphasising Netto as an expert in providing excellent produce (see image below). This addresses the main barrier to trial at discounters that the low prices are because the products are of poor quality.


What Could Work Better

The look and feel of the store is very similar to that of discounters Aldi and Lidl. There is a great opportunity for the branding to really communicate a new story – they just need to find their angle.

Our Takeout

As the discounter segment becomes more crowded, brands need to differentiate their offer from the rest of the pack. Unique in-store experiences, whether permanent or pop-up, help to convey brand stories and can be targeted to specific local areas.

Fashion: Eastpak

Accessories brand Eastpak’s pop-up store in East London allows customers to explore the range via an interactive table, displaying product-level information when each backpack is picked up. A special edition range of bags are designed by high-profile names such as Jean Paul Gaultier and will be sold by auction.


What Works Well

The graphic design in-store is strong which is appropriate for a pop-up – bold enough to pack a punch in the short time the space is open. The look and feel feels right for their young and adventurous target audience.

What Could Work Better

The interactive technology feels like an afterthought and not integral to the design. No communications or staff service help to introduce and explain the technology to customers, making for a confusing and anti-climatic experience.

Our Takeout

When introducing new technology into stores, encourage customers to engage by making them aware of the innovation and helping them to engage with the technology. When designing for a pop-up, consider that your brand story and values may need to be communicated in a different way to a permanent space.

Pop-Up: Woodlandia at Queen of Hoxton

For our Christmas party, we headed just down the road to the Queen of Hoxton and their rooftop wigwam


What Works Well

Nothing can beat the sense of pure escapism upon entering a wigwam on a cold December night in the middle of East London. Attention to detail in the space is great, featuring a woodchip floor, solid wood seating and flickering fairy lights. Outside on the terrace we were warmed by crackling log fires whilst overlooking the urban view. A truly delightful, memorable space.

What Could Work Better

Physically getting to the rooftop is quite a struggle – after more than 4 flights of stairs decked in finery, many were left out of breath! More could be done to create anticipation when ascending the staircase, storytelling from the ground floor up.

Our Takeout

This is a great example of a pop-up that could easily take a brand partner. However, no obvious branding or digitisation of the space helped to make the experience feel like true escapism from a busy urban lifestyle to a magical wonderland.

See November’s ‘This Month We Visited’


Household’s Hot Pick 6

Posted on 9 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Packaging Free

Original Unverpackt | Berlin

Original Unverpackt rejects the traditional supermarket approach, encouraging shoppers to supply their own bags and reusable containers. Every product is sold in bulk using gravity bins where shoppers can customise their purchase and avoid wasting food at home.

Household’s takeout:

Original Unverpackt takes a stripped back approach to grocery shopping at a time when customers are bombarded with product choice and brand messages. Raising awareness of food wastage and sustainability by encouraging proactive customer involvement.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 5

Posted on 1 September, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Little Parcels

Oreo | USA

Fans can log on to the ‘Oreo Mini Delivery’ microsite to send a free Oreo Mini through the post to a friend. Only 500 are available each day, and they are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who miss out are given the option to digitally send a cookie-themed GIF instead. The brand is also sending parcels to 50 tiny towns in the US to promote the activity.

Household’s takeout:

By taking the approach of selectivity, Oreo gains increased social activity. Users are intrigued and love the chance to get their hands on something exclusive.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


Household’s Hot Pick 4

Posted on 25 August, 2014 in Viewpoint

Household’s Hot Pick from our weekly Hotlist, covering the latest innovation and inspiration to kick start your week…


Living Make-up

Omote | Tokyo

Omote is a projection mapping system combined with real-time face tracking, which makes it possible to create animations and show virtual make-up on a person’s face. Using 3D mesh, as well as laser scans, the tool allows the user to try endless make-up possibilities.

Household’s takeout:

Technological advancements are making their way into the beauty industry, creating more of a real and convenient customer experience. Far away from general use yet, Omote gives a glimpse into the possibilities for the exciting future of beauty.

Household’s Hotlist is our roundup of six of the best new examples of innovation + what they mean for brands, which we send out weekly to our clients and friends. See an example issue. If you’d like to receive the full Hotlist weekly please email


3D Printing and Interior Architecture

Posted on 19 August, 2014 in Viewpoint

Brands are increasingly tapping into the potential of 3D printing for brand stand-out, personalisation and new commercial opportunities.

Hasbro has just announced it will offer its artwork to create 3D printed toys, and last month Amazon launched its own 3D printing marketplace where consumers choose a design and Amazon prints and ships it. Rymans, the stationers, are even offering 3D printed scans where you can scan yourself and have your mini-me printed in store.

3D printing is also increasingly being used for product development and manufacture. But despite this, it is still considered a confusing novelty by some. What does it mean for design – and more specifically, for interiors and architecture?

Last week Household attended an event on “The Impact of 3D Printing Within Architecture” hosted by PrintME 3D. A variety of 3D Printers were on display, as well as 3D Scanning for 3D Selfies. The theme of the event was to capture the architectural world in 3D by showcasing famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Statute of Liberty and Canary Wharf. Interior decorating was demonstrated too with a variety of household & decorative items in different materials and colours.


What stood out to us was 3D printing’s evident potential for interior architecture. Here are our thoughts on its potential and benefits:

· Model-making to bring to life interior layouts – to physically present an idea to foster discussion and collaboration, using complete models and individually printed elements that can be moved around by hand.

· Fast development – relatively inexpensive and quick to realise from CAD drawings.

· Fun – 3D printing shouldn’t be used just for novelty value, but, much like children’s building blocks, it offers an element of play that’s tactile and engaging to work with.

It’s still early days for 3D printing and we’re only scratching the surface of what the technology can do as it becomes more accessible. Far from a fad, 3D printing will increasingly offer real opportunities for design and collaboration.