June 26, 2014 / Greg
Rolling Out: Aerie Part III
The Aerie pop-up prototype begins to pop up.
Designing a prototype for a retail roll-out is essentially like building a kit-of-parts. The design must be developed with an inherent ability to adapt - to new spaces, to atypical site conditions, to a random or erratic column layout - there’s really no way to take into account or plan for all the possible contingencies. But regardless of what they are, the design and all of its parts need to be open to adjustment and still result to a successful sum.
As read in Volumes 013- and 015-, American Eagle Outfitters asked that MNA reinvent the look of their intimates line Aerie and redirect the brand to a more customer-centric user experience. That concept was fully realized by way of fabricating a full-scale functional prototype. It was tested and tweaked and is now finding its way into spaces both domestic and abroad. In addition to the original prototype, MNA was also assigned to lay out a handful of stores to get the ball rolling; several US locations and two international – Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv, Israel.
The prototypical design includes a handful of new, custom fixtures to present the product – one of which sits front and center when you first walk in. What we have dubbed the “Undie Cage” is a white, powder-coated, metal framework structure with wide, shoppable, pull-out trays on all sides. It’s a large and impactful first statement and something that we wanted to keep as a constant from store to store. However, site conditions being what they are don’t always offer the necessary spatial clearances, especially for such a large fixture. What we needed was an open front room and what we found in Tel Aviv was an obstructing structural column dead center, six feet from the entry. So much for the Undie Cage…
We were open to rearrange our kit but were dead set on keeping our feature front runner. Ultimately, we thought if we couldn’t modify the layout; why not just modify the fixture? Without compromising the look and feel of the Undie Cage, we essentially resolved to wrap the column with it, resulting in a unique reinterpretation with all the functionality of its orthogonal predecessor. A frustrating challenge took an interesting spin.