Geox Hong Kong gets global X-store concept design
Italian footwear brand Geox chose Hong Kong as one of the first global locations for its new concept X-store design, at Times Square. Launched simultaneously with a store in Europe, the concept mirrors the core focus of the brand: sustainability, breathability, wellbeing and technology.
“It’s a totally different retail environment,” says a Geox Hong Kong spokesperson. It offers more customer interactivity as well as more of the brand’s Italian tradition. It underlines the importance of advanced technology (symbolised by the letter X) to Geox as it merges seamlessly with the inspirational values of Italian style and contemporary design.
Two features of the store caught the eye of Inside Retail Hong Kong: firstly the clean, minimalist design with its unmistakable sense of Italian style; and secondly the way such a compact space has been cleverly optimised for customer and staff convenience.
Materials used in the Times Square store were all sourced from Italy: terracotta tiles, wall coverings, modular steel shelving frames and mobile counters finished with natural timber. They were sourced from suppliers guaranteeing compliance with Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credentials, which Geox describes as “perfectly in keeping with the company’s commitment to the environment and respect for society”.
High-street stores in Europe receiving the X-store makeover will preserve architectural features such as windows, columns, ceilings and exposed brickwork, while the Hong Kong store was fitted out in a conventional mall retail space environment, offering the complete new format.
The first impressive focal point is the entrance. The door is pierced with circular cut-outs, a clever reference to the holes on Geox soles and symbolising the airiness that welcomes visitors as they step into the invitingly space. This will become a standard feature across the store network globally.
“The idea behind the architecture is based on space dematerialisation with flowing essential lines where furnishings are kept to a bare minimum in order to enhance the perception of breeziness and freshness,” says Geox. “This is also emphasised with ceiling ventilators and special purifiers that improve air quality.”
A curious feature is the shelving framework, attached to the store’s walls in such a way that there is a void between wall and shelf, creating the illusion that product is almost floating.
In the centre of the store, modular mobile cabinets allow the flexibility to create an event space or simply highlight different categories or ranges at different times.
Another difference is that there is no obvious cashier station nor visible cash register. When a customer wants to make a purchase, a staff member opens a lid on one of the cabinets to process the sale, a concept no doubt inspired by the Apple Store which was the first major retail outlet to hide its cashier technology.
While from Italy, Geox now gains more than 70 per cent of its revenues from the 110 foreign markets in which it trades. It has more than 1100 single-brand stores globally and a further presence in about 10,000 multi-brand stores.
While the X-store concept is progressively being rolled out internationally, kudos to Hong Kong to be one of the first markets to see it.
This story originally appeared in the Spring edition of Inside Retail Hong Kong magazine edition. To read the latest, summer edition in print or digital format, subscribe online.