ABC is a name that has been engraved in the hearts and minds of the Lebanese shopper for over 80 years, ever since the retailer opened the Middle East’s first department store in Beirut in 1936. The new 107,640 square foot ABC department store – the anchor for the new $300 million ABC Verdun community mall – features a stunning design by Kinnersley Kent Design, an award-winning design consultancy based in London and Dubai.
Beirut is a city of contrasts, with an “energy, soul, diversity and intoxicating atmosphere that make it a vital, addictive city” (Lonely Planet). Taking inspiration from Beirut’s unique and distinctive personality, Kinnersley Kent Design created a store concept based upon juxtapositions, energy and theatre. The interiors are a vibrant mix of glamour, elegance and sophistication, with standout materials that contrast the gritty with the glamorous. The resulting aesthetic is premium, bold and contemporary, with an urban edge.
Kinnersley Kent Design was responsible for designing the whole store, from masterplanning the layout and adjacencies, customer flow and circulation, to developing the overall store personality and the look and feel of each department. The designers also developed the brand guidelines for the concessions, ensuring a unified fit out while providing individual brands with the freedom and flexibility they require.
Speaking about the project, Paul McElroy, Partner at Kinnersley Kent Design, commented: “The design of each of department follows a similar visual language and logic, but with a subtly different look and feel on each floor to create strong individual departments. We developed new brand elements for ABC such as bespoke patterns based on the retailer’s logo, which strengthen ABC’s own identity in a stylish and understated way.”
The lighting throughout was developed by IDEPCONSULT – Mounir Saroufim and Partners. Chérine Saroufim, IALD at IDEPCONSULT said: “The lighting concept was slightly altered on each level of the department store to cater for the different target customer groups and enhance their sense of wellbeing. This extends the amount of time customers spend in store, boosting sales.”
Throughout, the concept is designed to subtly remind the customer that they are shopping in ABC. In doing so, the concept elevates the department store from ‘a house of brands’ to a branded experience in its own right, reflecting its status as one of the country’s leading fashion retailers.
Tania Ezzedine, Head of Real Estate at ABC, commented: “We are very happy with the retail concept of ABC Verdun Department Store. With Kinnersley Kent Design, we have developed a clear design and identity for our department stores that can be rolled out to other projects. The new addition of Verdun to ABC’s portfolio has elevated the standards of the Lebanese retail scene, and initial feedback from customers and tenants is very promising.”