Meet Richard Whitaker.
There are a lot of people behind our Euroshop 2017 experience. Hundreds when you take count of all the project managers, designers, directors, suppliers, video producers, couriers, mannequins (they’re part of the team here)… the list goes on. Richard Whitaker is one of the many faces that is leading this entourage, giving the design and creative side his unique guidance.
We took a few minutes to get to know more about Richard, and what he’s looking forward to at Euroshop.
RICHARD, WHAT DO YOU DO AT SFD?
I am the Creative Director at the sfd Group and Our House, sfd’s creative agency. I have been here for nearly three years. In fact my three year anniversary is during Euroshop.
SO THIS IS YOUR FIRST EUROSHOP WITH SFD, WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCES OF THE EVENT?
That’s correct, I didn’t make it out to the last Euroshop however I was at the previous one in 2011. Everyone within the industry realises that Euroshop is one of the leading Expo’s for retail design, the size is immense it can be a little daunting! Coming from working in-house in retail design I always saw the event as a great opportunity to meet new agencies and suppliers to work with but also very much to be inspired by the stand designs.
Although I never had a passion for exhibition design, I always felt it needed to be done differently. An exhibition should be seen as a brand pavilion, in a sense it is a piece of architecture. I went to the World Expo in Milan last year and was inspired by the way each country designed and constructed these inspiring buildings. Housing a story and message that the countries felt passionate and driven by, each pavilion had its own personality and impression. Each one was an inspiration to visit and this is how exhibitions should feel.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT SFD AND ITS PARTICIPATION IN ES?
Over nine months ago, I started the process for Euroshop. Some may say this is not long enough! A vision was created for our Euroshop story, the initial direction being to create an architectural statement within a sea of monotonous exhibition stands. From research and development to visualisation and 2D technical drawings, the whole design process lasted around three months. Clever communication was key, with a strong message and clever language, incorporating the use of purposeful technology. Working closely with the sfd’s project manager on the Euroshop project and our fabrication partners, the last six months have been about developing the design and products, as well as signing off prototypes. Being on site at our pre-build space has been the most exciting part of the process, seeing the original vision come to life was a pleasing moment.
HOW IS SFD BEING REPRESENTED AT EUROSHOP – WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
Visitors can expect something different. Something unexpected, if that isn’t a contradiction. A pavilion that is considered to a visitor’s journey and overall experience.
sfd’s vision, communicated from the outside and throughout, builds momentum as the visitor moves through the structure and becomes more familiar with the brand. Designing and developing marketing material, packaging and products all went hand in hand with the design of the space to ensure a strong and cohesive brand message. The identity continues to every area of the internal space.
HOW HAVE YOU ACHIEVED THIS THROUGH THE DESIGN?
The overall aesthetic of the stand, with complementary finishes and material consideration were a paramount to the execution of our stand. The architecture had to be a strong message and the aim was to create an intelligent and considered backdrop for visitors without overpowering the environment.
We used materials commonly found in construction but in a new and unique way.
WHAT ARE YOU HOPING PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THEIR VISIT TO THE STAND?
A perception of the future with sfd. We have a fantastic opportunity to create an honest view of our business. Collaboration is key to our vision as well as being aspirational and this is the feeling we want our visitors to feel.
WHOSE STANDS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AND VISITING AT EUROSHOP?
The Store Design Hall should be an inspirational one with some great design and architecture practices showcasing their ability. I’m looking forward to seeing the Lighting Hall, which should also be a good one. Lighting design has come a long way in last few years and it is obviously a massive part of the concept when we design a store, so it will be interesting to see what’s next with the collaboration of lighting and technology.
We are in Hall 11, I am excited to see some of the large format stands. Our stand is 200 square metres and feels big, however the largest is 800!
WHAT ELSE WILL YOU BE DOING IN DUSSELDORF?
Eating. Drinking. Exploring. I’ve bookmarked a few places from our Düsseldorf City Guide.
Lido is one of my favourite bars and restaurants, situated on the water overlooking the harbour. Also looking forward to the burgers at Bob & Mary’s. Exploring some of the interiors in Düsseldorf and Cologne. We are staying in Duisburg, the home of my new favourite coffee shop – Simply Coffee – so there is a lot to tick off my list. I hope I get some time off.