MegaFon Winter Olympics retail store design

The challenge: create new retail store design to reflect the Olympic Games

As an official sponsor of the 2014 winter Olympic Games, MegaFon, one of Russia's biggest mobile phone operators, wanted to create a new destination retail store for tourists to reflect its involvement with the games.

The new retail store design was to be ‘premium boutique' and based on the existing warm, welcoming and relaxed concept of its flagship Moscow store

The result: new mobile phone store design draws in the crowds

The brand new mobile phone store is sutated in the GUM retail centre, one of the oldest trading centres in Moscow with architecture dating back to the 19th century.  The new retail store design both complements and works within this architectural context.

Since its opening on 14th May, the mobile phone store has been attracting large numbers of tourists keen to view the innovative new store design and experience the interactive elements, such as the ‘breathing counter', the hockey game projected onto the floor, and the stunning ‘ice floe' situated in the middle of the store.

Floor planning, store design and layout

Creating a look which worked with the existing architectural elements of the store, but which also reflected the Olympics theme and combined the calm and natural look of the MegaFon flagship store with a slightly futuristic, dynamic feel (phew!) was always going to be challenging!

In keeping with the building's architectural heritage, we worked with ceiling arcs and stucco to create a modern retail store design but which also acknowledged the building's historical past.

The natural colour scheme, choice of materials and furniture design echo that of the flagship store but with new elements to attract tourists such as the live wall of plants and the Olympics themed, interactive ice floe unit.  The flooring, with its clever line pattern, works with the store design and layout to guide customers through the store while also reflecting both the fluidity and dynamism of nature and winter sports.

To make the most efficient use of available retail space, we used floor planning techniques to divide the store layout into 3 key zones:

Floor planning and store layout:

  • Fast: A dedicated self-service area containing an interactive multi-touch panel for those who wish to transact quickly and easily themselves. Located at the right of the entrance.
  • Medium: The product display and demonstration area. Uses the central area of the store and contains the staff service counter, the ‘ice flow' display unit and the children's zone.
  • Slow: Also known as the VIP zone and specifically to allow corporate customers more time and attention. Situated on the left hand side of the store in the far corner.

Creating an interactive retail store environment

As a destination store, we knew that people would be drawn by and innovative retail store design and interactive elements so despite the mobile phone store's calm and relaxed atmosphere, it was essential that the environment was also inspiring, vibrant and fun.

To attract attention, a camera projects film onto the shop window showing a selection of winter sporting activities.  Movement from passers-by then activates a large welcome sign, inviting people to enter the store.

Once inside, customers are engaged by a range of interactive elements such as the centrally located ice floe unit which can be seen from the outside of the store.  The unit incorporates a multi-touch panel which functions as an interactive catalogue of mobile phone products and services and displays the top five mobile phones for live ‘play'.

The children's hockey game is also a big favourite and not just with the children!  A camera projects a hockey pitch onto the floor, complete with virtual ball and a goal at either end.  The whole area is sensitive to movement allowing a fully interactive game between two people.

Finally, to achieve a sense of vibrancy and atmosphere within the store, the staff counter at the rear incorporates a lighting design which alternately dims and brightens the retail space around it.  Not surprisingly, it has become known as the breathing counter.

Retail store design innovation

Many of the techniques and solutions we implemented were unique and required a new approach from our retail design team, manufacturers and suppliers.  It would be fair to say we all experienced more than the odd headache!

The ice floe, made of corian, looks fantastic but the metal support initially installed within the unit made the whole structure too heavy.  Weight restrictions limited us to a maximum of 300kg to every surface meter but without this internal metal ‘prop' the unusually shaped unit could not support itself.  Back to the drawing board!

The shape was slightly redesigned and we increased the base area so that the unit became self-supporting and more stable.  The re-design is lighter, making it much easier to manoeuvre and the empty space inside is available to use for storage.

The flooring also presented some issues - it wasn't as easy to install as it perhaps looks! 

To ensure durability, we used self-levelling technology to flatten and prepare the floor and created the line drawings using professional, high quality materials which would stand the test of time.  Importantly, the drawings had to be securely ‘fixed' before applying the top coat.  The flooring was then sealed with a special wax finish to make it possible to keep clean.

Flooring solved, the VIP area presented us with quite another challenge - how to devise a private space which conveyed a sense of intimacy and ‘specialness' in the middle of a buzzing mobile phone store. 

We found our solution in the form of interactive smart glass.  At the touch of a button, the glass becomes either transparent or matt; when in matt mode, those behind the glass in the VIP area are completely hidden from the rest of the store.

Interestingly, despite the fact the store is now open, we still have an ongoing small challenge - the live wall of plants (no surprises there really!).  It was relatively easy to install but it is very sensitive to the atmosphere and requires humidity, an optimum temperature and lots of TLC!  Our suppliers visit the store on an occasional basis to nurture the plants and, yes, at times to replace some of them.

And finally...

The new mobile phone store design is thoroughly in keeping with the MegaFon brand while also successfully promoting the company's proud relationship with the 2014 Olympics.  Look carefully at our photos and you will note that staff wear sports tops bearing the name Bosko, sponsors of the Russian Olympics team.

"A ground-breaking experience store." 

GUM shopping centre management