Architecture demands its users to interact, engage, and emotionally identify with its environs. So it's no surprise that commercial labels have taken advantage of its unique power in their own branding exercises. Branding, after all, aims to take consumers beyond simply "buying" and into "experiencing," and architecture proves the ideal vehicle for that journey.
Sometimes that vehicle is more subtle or conceptual—as with OMA's boutiques for Prada or SANAA's work for Derek Lam—but often branded environments take on the aesthetic of a larger-than-life billboard, where giant logos and parts of a corporate identity are displayed prominently in chorus with the building.
Two recent projects have taken this concept to another level, transforming an element of their branding strategy into a full-on architectural experience. The Adidas pop-up store in London, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a shoe named after tennis legend Stan Smith, is essentially a giant shoebox. The store allows users to walk past a bizarrely sized replica, but also to experience being inside a piece of packaging.
Pentagram employs a similarly oversized design in its half-frightening, half-amazing, and completely absurd advertising spectacle "Pepsi Gate" at MetLife Stadium, the site of the 2014 Super Bowl. Upon entering the stadium, fans step onto one of two escalators that move alongside a giant Pepsi logo and under two oversized Pepsi bottles. The experience of working your way into a game, with a crowd of people, and seeing two large Pepsi bottles is one that would be hard to forget.
Architecture is often used as advertising, and never has it been more relevant than in today's age of social media. These spectacular objects are ideal for being blogged, re-blogged, tweeted and re-tweeted, and generally circulated. The image created when a selfie captures the logo on the wall or a building in the shape of a shoebox is more valuable than an ad. Last summer, the cult TV program Arrested Development employed this technique by building a full-scale banana stand—a recurring gag on the show—and taking it around New York City. Each Instagram or cellphone snap taken by an onlooker functions as a potential viral advertisement for your product.
Here are six other immersive environments that deliver a branded experience and promote products.
A combination of mirrored adhesive surfaces and programmable LED lighting illuminate the vacuum-formed clear plastic panels shaped like pandas, which is Nicola Formichetti's logo.
Image courtesy Swarovski
Swarovski Wings of Sparkle Installation, Tokujin Yoshioka, Basel, 2013
The project offers the experience of being inside of a Swarovski crystal through spatial effects created by 22,856 precisely positioned LED lights. The pavilion was part of Baselworld 2013.
Located on a prominent corner in a major shopping district, the Camper store features large, sliding glass doors that connect the interior to the street. As passersby look into the shop, they see the back wall with the Camper logo. The wall is broken apart, creating a lenticular effect, and making a small space for the display of the shoes.
From the architects: "ATTENTION TO ALL COFFEE LOVERS! IT’S FINALLY FINISHED! NEW NESCAFE DOLCE GUSTO SHOP BELGRADE WILL OPEN ITS DOOR! WHEN? MIDDLE NOVEMBER! WHERE? IN BELGRADE! DO YOU LIKE COFFEE?"
A mix of brand iconography, graphics, branding, and way-finding opportunities, the Puma store displays many NYC tropes in an attempt to connect to its context. These include subway iconography, Art Deco-inspired windows, and neon signs reminiscent of pre-gentrification Times Square.