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Designing joy with luxury retail architects Sybarite

Person walking past SKP Chengdu
SKP Chengdu by Sybarite/Nick Kuratnik
Jun 23, 2023 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

Discover the must-know strategies that allow your customers to “continually peel back layers and layers” of the IRL retail experience with guest Simon Mitchell of Sybarite.

While e-commerce has been rising since the pandemic, IRL retail is seeing a revival as consumers return to stores as sites for discovery. In this episode, WGSN’s Executive Editorial Director Bethan Ryder is joined by Simon Mitchell, co-founder of architectural studio Sybarite, and Laura Saunter, Insight Senior Strategist at WGSN. 

Portrait of Simon Mitchell
Simon Mitchell/Sybarite

We explore the landscape of luxury retail, from the return of the mega flagship in the post-pandemic era to sensorial retail experiences fuelled by luxury concepts, including biophilic design and community-building that offer a sense of discovery at every turn.

SKP Chengdu by Sybarite
SKP Chengdu by Sybarite

Hear from Simon, who sees his role beyond retail designer as an art curator, storyteller and even musician, modelling the shopping experience after theatre to offer newness, anticipation and a sense of discovery. He also shares some collaborative projects with brands including Marni, Ferrari and most recently luxury Chinese department store SKP on the world’s first subterranean retail park. 

Marni Sloane Street by Sybarite
Marni Sloane Street by Sybarite

Prioritising sensorial experiences

“Nowadays, the feel of the door handle when you walk in the space, what the mat feels like when you walk on it, the instant smell that you smell, the noises, if it’s curated music that’s being played, the beauty hall that opens before you, the vistas to the escalator, the natural wayfinding. Customers today are so well-informed and ever more demanding as well. So we’ve got to tick all of those boxes not only for our clients, but also for customers and if we give them pleasure throughout that entire journey, then we are doing our job properly.”
– Simon Mitchell, co-founder, Sybarite

Marni Japan by Sybarite/Nacasa
Marni Japan by Sybarite/Nacasa

Evoking joy through design

“I love how a lot of luxury store designs are becoming more playful. And it’s not just about targeting Gen Z. It’s about the shift towards emotion-led shopping in general and wanting to spread joy and make people feel happy and release dopamine in a post-pandemic landscape.”
– Laura Saunter, WGSN Insight Senior Strategist

Head to Apple or Spotify to hear the full discussion on our Create Tomorrow podcast episode, Designing Joy with Luxury Retail Architects Sybarite.

If you’re a subscriber you can read more about this topic in our APAC: Mega-Mall Strategies 2023 report on Insight. Alternatively, request a demo with WGSN here.

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