A new look for The Conran Shop's Marylebone store
The Conran Shop has just unveiled a new look for its Marylebone Store. After redesigning the brand's Chelsea store last year, Jasper Conran, who recently took over at the helm from his father Sir Terence Conran, has now focused on the Marylebone High Street store. When I visited at the weekend to attend a styling workshop with Gabby Deeming of House and Garden as part of Marylebone Interiors Day, the store was buzzing with a palpable new excitement and energy.
The Conran Flower Stand greets you as you enter and sets a welcoming and colourful tone that's echoed throughout the store. There's a luscious array of hand-tied bouquets and potted herbs on offer, along with sweet little jars of seasonal flowers and foliage - all British grown and made up daily in store. I defy you to resist.
The Conran Kitchen is another new addition. I opted for a lunchtime bite of goats cheese and caramelised onion, sandwiched between doorstop sized hunks of white bread.
Elsewhere on the ground floor there are gift, book and music sections to explore along with a children's zone and a perfume counter.
Upstairs there's an enticing market style feel to the kitchen shop, and more than ten elegant table settings provide dining inspiration.
On the top floor the Ultimate Conran Apartment, complete with roof terrace, is a fantastic space flooded with natural light and features a thoughtful edit of furniture, original art and other highly covetable objects styled to illustrate an idealised version of Conran living.
Carefully curated collections of paint splattered artists palettes and wooden T squares infuse the space with personality.
While many retailers have struggled to adapt to the challenges of the tough economic climate and changing shopping habits, and seen sales slipping away as a result, The Conran Shop has really embraced the idea of creating a truly wonderful visitor experience. The overriding impression it leaves you with is that it's a fun place to be, and there is something to suit most tastes and pockets, whether you're after a £20 bunch of colourful Spring blooms, a quick home accessories update, or looking to make a more serious investment in a piece of designer furniture. Reorganised, reedited and rejuvenated, and with the inclusion of a cafe and a regular programme of events, alongside near flawless visual merchandising, the store has shaped up to position itself as a social destination as well as a shopping destination.
Other retailers would do well to take note.
Images: Paul Raeside (1,3,4,6,7,9) & Graham Powell (2,5,8)