Retail Time Machine

Concepts of Past, Present and Future serve varied purposes depending on the message a brand wants to convey. Here is a look at how retail stores have used these characteristics of Mystery to create informative, sensual and engaging environments for shoppers.


History can provide meaning and context to a retail environment that otherwise may be more challenging to convey to a passing consumer.


Aesop, the Australian beauty brand, used enamel as a building material in its newest Soho store to reflect the qualities of its product. Enamel is “a material borne of a highly technical and sophisticated process…extolled by the pharaohs of Egypt, kings of Persia and Chinese imperial dynasties for its aesthetic qualities and longevity; an historical testimonial we felt compelled to heed.” (


Red Wing’s first official store in Amsterdam pays tribute to the history of the brand by showcasing shoes upon cabinets filled with coal and decorating dark concrete with antique workman’s tools. Red Wing was founded in 1905 by Charles Beckman, and the design calls to mind the early days of the footwear company.


Today’s experience driven culture can be summed up in one word – NOW. It’s about living in the moment and being connected to our environment and each other.


The Disco Experience Store in Brazil was designed with today’s multitasking youth in mind. “The store ambiance tries to achieve all sensory levels of these consumers, with a proposal of unifies fashion, art and culture in the same place.” (


The pop-up store is a retail concept very much embedded in the NOW. It’s fun, local, and available for a limited time only. In anticipation of the opening of its flagship store in New York, Uniqlo placed its cube stores in neighborhoods around the city.


What lies ahead is always a mystery. We can never know what the future may hold but the possibilities have captured our imagination through the ages. What’s next?


Patrick Cox‘s store in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan, only uses three elements – the color white, the circle and lighting – to create an interior one could imagine comfortably fitting in space.


If only pharmacies would shed their glum interiors and cheer customers up with the use of form and color. “Through the use of soft flowing walls and organic shapes a sense of comfort and security is immediately established,” explained the designer Karim Rashid of the Oaza Zdravlja pharmacy in Belgrade, Serbia.