Trending: Branded Architecture


Trending: Branded Architecture


Over the past few years, you’ve likely walked by at least one pop-up shop in your city. They started with the rise of social media and changing retail landscape, and have since grown into an increasingly popular marketing tactic for brands across the globe. Last November, we discussed the impact Instagram has made on architecture, driving businesses to create spaces that are “Insta-friendly.” With an increasing focus on experiences and social sharing, Millennials have forced everyone from local restaurants to large CPG brands to create aesthetically pleasing spaces for consumers to interact with. And with the rise of pop-up shops, branded hotels and other unique design collaborations, companies are tapping into this consumer need to experience a brand’s identity before becoming a loyal buyer.

We’ve seen plenty of examples in our hometown of Chicago, including a recent Louis Vuitton “Chicago Residency" to celebrate Virgil Abloh’s upcoming collection. In addition to a bright facade, the brand completely transformed the interior of a blank gallery space using art pieces to create a monochromatic orange background that reflected the artist's new collection.

On the flipside, Taco Bell opened a temporary Taco Bell-themed hotel in Palm Springs, California this summer, selling out rooms in just two minutes and drawing national media attention. In addition to serving all the fan-favorites, the brand completely outfitted an existing hotel to create a “taco-asis” that reflects the brand's true identity. This included a Mountain Dew Baja Blast lounge, Taco-Bell nail art salon, and branded art throughout the space.

While pop-ups are an important part of this trend, we’re also seeing more brands using architecture and design to create even more unique retail environments to showcase their products. Lululemon recently flipped their traditional retail approach on its head, creating a Chicago location that features a full-time gym and cafe. This is another great example of how brands are using retail spaces to lure Millennials with experiences that online shopping simply can’t offer. Similarly, Crate & Barrel is opening a full-service in-store restaurant in a Chicago suburb, using the space to showcase their kitchen tools and tableware. While the idea of bringing restaurants into your retail space is not entirely new (think of the old school department store), the way that brands are doing it on their own is definitely a nod to the changing consumer culture.


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