Projects, Products, Design

Branding by Design: How to Create Modern Retail Experiences

As retail architecture shifts toward experiences, Jaguar and Land Rover redesigned dealerships to reflect a storied yet modern brand image.

As brick-and-mortar retail shifts from a transactional space into an experience of the brand, the flagship store, dealership, or storefront that connects consumers with the products they love is an increasingly important opportunity for companies to strengthen their connection with their customers.

A study from the Gensler Research Institute shows that shoppers visit a store to accomplish a specific task just 49 percent of the time while the other 51 percent of the time they visit for reasons like discovery, learning, or inspiration. This tells us that retail is far from dead, but rather is being reimagined. And the spaces consumers visit play an increasingly central role.

A prime example of a brand’s strength, equity, and recognition is Jaguar, recognized as one of the fastest-growing premium brands in the U.S. Most people know what the company, owned by Land Rover, represents—tradition, craftsmanship—even without owning one of its cars. In 2016, the brand rolled out a new dealership standard, dubbed “Arch Concept,” that brought the Jaguar and Land Rover franchises together under one roof. The retail design is described by Jaguar Land Rover North America CEO Joe Eberhardt as “jewel boxes” for the way the two franchises are connected at an entryway with glass doors. It is being rolled out across all dealerships in North America to create a consistent, modern brand image for all retail locations.

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope provided the architectural systems for several of the retail locations around the country while helping to ensure the consistency of the new Jaguar Land Rover look and feel. In Salt Lake City, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope teamed up with Goree Architects, the Ken Garff Automotive Group, and Noorda BEC on the European facility design. “Our team worked closely with the design team to ensure that all the solutions we provided worked to protect and represent the brand,” said Mark Lehman, sales manager–national accounts at Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope. “We provided Finwall, a structural wall system, for the curtain wall to provide an exterior free from visual obstructions, limiting the need for metal framing to the perimeter to create a seemingly floating glass façade. This, combined with our Reliance curtain wall system used in the storefront created the modern aesthetic they designed while allowing natural light into the space to create a boutique retail experience.”

In addition, the interior glazing system in the showroom provides beautiful glass partitions, allowing visitors to easily navigate through the space.

“The Finwall system … at JLR of Salt Lake City created an unimpeded view of the interior display vehicles,” says Phil Elia, vice president at Goree Architects. “This created an exterior-to-interior transition that was open and inviting.”

For national and international brands, consistency in application is critical for brand recognition. Especially with a broad network of franchised locations, ensuring the same experience across the country is even more important. Clean sight lines, modern aesthetics, and quality products are all important in consumers’ impressions of a brand. Whether they are visiting for inspiration, exploration, or to make a purchase, the physical space is a vital extension of the brand and a big part of customers’ first, and lasting, impressions.