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UK windows in Visual Toolbox presentation

Both of the UK’s gia Top Window Award 2022 entries (put forward by UK gia sponsor Progressive Housewares and HousewaresNews.net) were featured in Anne Kong’s Enhance Your Visual Toolbox presentation on October 13 during the IHA’s Connect FALL virtual event. The online presentation highlighted excellent display techniques, with examples of windows selected by Anne, the world-renowned visual merchandising expert and educator. 

Harrods’ Look Who’s Home windows were discussed for their use of surrealism; the row of houses with open doors cleverly aroused consumers’ curiosity, with a sense of voyeurism. Moreover, Anne praised the brilliant use of symmetry in Harrods’ Smeg window (part ot the Look Who’s Home series), which was selected as one of the three Global Honoree gia Top Window 2022 winners.

Above: Harrods’ Look Who’s Home windows were highlighted for their surrealism.
Above: Harrods’ Look Who’s Home windows were highlighted for their surrealism.

The Paddington Jubilee window by The Kitchen Range Cookshop in Market Harborough (the UK’s small store entrant) was highlighted for its connection to current affairs, the “wonderful juxtaposition” of the handbag in the centre of the cookshop’s window, the “great use of colour” and use of space, including the floating peppermills which “move the eye around.”

As part of her presentation, Anne set out her ‘Toolbox’ of elements to select from when creating excellent displays. These include balance, contrast, asymmetry or symmetry, textures and “positive/negative” space, ie the importance of leaving gaps around merchandise. Providing examples of trends in interior and exterior shop displays, Anne discussed the rise of spatial design and “the store as destination”.

Another Global Honoree Top Window Award winner for 2022, Denmark’s Bahne, was highlighted for its abstract composition, including floating bottles and a flower cloud. Anne applauded the benefits of “pushing out of your comfort zone” when designing some windows.

Above: Lifestyle display window by Hansen & Co in Norway - part of Anne's presentation.
Above: Lifestyle display window by Hansen & Co in Norway – part of Anne’s presentation.

Other examples of notable displays from around the world included a monochromatic window, a lifestyle window, and one which used “visual texture” with recycled cans. Successful window display techniques include a “call to action” (linking to products for a more sustainable planet) or the creation of a fantasy story in a window, as shown in Anne’s example of a window displaying porcelain tableware.

Above: An example of a Fantasy window, also part of Anne's presentation.
Above: An example of a Fantasy window, also part of Anne’s presentation.

Portugal’s HABITARE, the Global Honoree Top Window Award winner for the small store category, was praised for its references to local history. The winner included a black and white photograph of local salt miners and an old salt mining tool, placed alongside the modern tools and gadgetry for the grinding and storing salt.

Above: Museum-like qualities in the ‘With a pinch of salt’ window at Portugal’s HABITARE.
Above: Museum-like qualities in the ‘With a pinch of salt’ window at Portugal’s HABITARE.

Examples of the use of nostalgia, taglines, graphics and informative signage were also part of Anne’s insightful presentation. She urged visual merchandisers to “reward” customers “visually” and to “create moments of value.” She reminded her audience that: “Window content makes fantastic social media content,” and that: “The window is a form of theatre.”

Anne described the three gia Global Honoree Top Window Award 2022 winners (announced towards the end of her presentation) as “spectacular” and admitted that the gia expert judges had been “truly excited” to view them.

On hearing that Harrods was one of this year’s gia Global Honoree Top Window Award winners, buyer Margaret Osei-Bonsu enthused: “We’re super proud and excited to win this prestigious award. Harrods prides itself in delivering the most innovative and creative windows.” She explained: “This year we really wanted to pay homage to the Georgian Houses we’re surround by in Knightsbridge. As a business that relies heavily on international trade, our domestic customers carried us through challenging times. It meant a lot to showcase the importance of our local consumers in our April Home Campaign.”

* Anne Kong’s Enhance Your Visual Toolbox presentation is available to watch on demand via The Inspired Home Show’s website from early November, along with other Connect FALL sessions.

See theinspiredhomeshow.com/connect/connect-fall/

 

Top: The Paddington Jubilee window by The Kitchen Range Cookshop in Market Harborough was highlighted in Anne Kong’s Enhance Your Visual Toolbox presentation.

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