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Design showcase: HORST - the hardware store that isn't one

A ‘hardware store which isn’t one’ is hoping to inspire shoppers in Hamburg with a new customer-centric approach.

HORST offers a 750 sq m (8,073 sq ft) space, using a store concept and branding developed by Design for Human Nature (previously Feldmann+Schultchen Design Studio).

Pitched as a ‘makers store,’ it is arranged around a central square with honeycomb-like shelf structures. More than 16,500 SKUs are arranged by theme, communicated by a clear and simple suite of graphics.

Tools including lasers, UV-printers and CNC-cutters allow the store to provide a range of personalisation services.

A new merchandising strategy seeks to be more engaging than traditional methods. Instead of books of colour samples the store offers a walk-in colour fan.

A ‘connector cabin’ is used instead of shelving to house ranges of screws.

A floating light dome helps customers to see the effect of different lighting products.

An equipment loan service is available, and the store offers workshops, as well as a ‘Kümmerling’ service – which provides the helping hand of professional tradesmen and women for projects.

The modular floor plan is more flexible than traditional aisles when it comes to remodelling or changing layouts, says the agency.

“To do more with less, that is HORST. We reduced the offering and turned it into an experience: What does a color feel like? How does the feeling of light change? What is possible to create with a laser, a printer or a saw? These elements turn HORST into a steppingstone for urban creativity” says Arne Schultchen, co-founder of Design for Human Nature.