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Design showcase: Harvey Nichols in Dubai

Luxury department store Harvey Nichols has introduced changes to its store in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, bringing its design model and strategy into line with that of the retailer's flagship UK stores in London and Birmingham.

Design group Virgile+Partners, which designed elements of the UK stores, worked with Al Tayer Group UAE – which owns and operates the Duabi store, to implement the changes.

New features include the 340 sq m (3,660 sq ft) Edgy Designer department, which stocks brands such as Roksanda, Roland Mouret, and Zimmermann. The ground floor department has been given a 'quirky and eccentric' look to reflect the brands on offer.

Entered via the main mall, the Edgy Designer department is arranged along the front facade of the store, acting as a welcoming beacon to visitors, and introducing them to the spirit of innovation and creativity that the store seeks to convey.

The design scheme breaks the interior space into seven different areas, defined by large sculptural three-dimensional geometric ‘objects of desire’. These are intended to provoke intrigue, and to encourage customers to interact with the space, while avoiding the formality of traditional fixtures and display systems.

Floors are defined by an undulating ‘road’ - a layout of combined of white, grey and light rose marbles laid out in a geometric pattern - to create a strong sense of direction while linking different zones. The routes are emphasised by a mirror image reflected in the ceiling, which follows the turns of the walkway.

Furniture and hanging display devices are integrated into the interior layout, while unusual materials such as plaster bricks and fine wires are used to create partial screening and unusual backdrops to the exciting fashion collections.

The redesign of Harvey Nichols is a direct response to Dubai’s increasingly competitive luxury market

“Harvey Nichols Dubai DNA has always stood for originality and creativity. The new Edgy Designer department pushes these values even further through the innovation and playfulness present in today’s fashion. The design aims to break a traditional department store mould and move it closer to the character of an inspiring and inventive boutique,” said Virgile+Partners director Carlos Virgile.

Last year, Harvey Nichols also redesigned its Hong Kong store, reducing its footprint while increasing product selection and introducing new in-store technology such as interactive touchscreens and a digital waterfall effect. That project was designed by Studio Four IV, which also redesigned the womenswear department of the Harvey Nichols store in London.

Launched in Knightsbridge in 1831, Harvey Nichols has always sought to be at the cutting edge of fashion. It now has seven stores in the UK and Ireland, and six international branches. All UK branches include luxury food markets and restaurants.