A window that wows for Harrods tech month
Beats was founded by Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine in 2006 – the company design and manufacture premium headphones, earphones and speakers and were acquired by Apple in 2014. With a prime retail space in Harrods, where better to showcase award-winning sound quality and sleek design than in a window promoting Harrods Tech Month?
Beats’ design agency, Rosie Lee, came up with an ambitious creative plan for the window space – they wanted something that would visually represent the power of the sound from a pair of Beats headphones. A visual boom ... boom ... boom! 3D rings of sound, building from huge metallic panels, ripples pumping away from the headphones suspended in the window.
Using a 3D file from the client we used CNC routing to carve the required design shape out of MDF. It was a long process – 16 hours for each panel – 64 hours in total, gradually creating the circular pattern to represent sound ripples. Then to achieve the highly glossy metallic finish we experimented with different options before settling on a metallic paint that is usually used in the car industry. This was the only way to achieve the ombré effect – blending gold into bronze – which reinforced the visual effect of sound ripples.
As with many of our window display designs we created a dry build to replicate the space of the Harrods window – bringing together the design, implementation and project management teams to review and discuss progress. The lead designer wanted no visible joins, together we were able to discuss the limitations of the space (which we’d worked in before) and troubleshoot problems.
We built the wall over 20 times, testing the joins and the fixings, trying to get the closest, tightest fit possible. Even with several dry builds, how the panels would finally look in the window still relied on the skill of the installation team.
The quality finish that we demand is all about the finishing touches and even with meticulous planning, some elements, such as the lighting, can never really be exactly gauged until the design is in the shop window.
Installing any shop window is a race against the clock, making use of the precious few hours overnight when the shop is closed to customers. This challenge is increased tenfold when the shop window is Harrods, situated on a busy street in London in an old building.
Loading restrictions means unloading quickly in a fixed timeframe before taking everything into the store through an underground tunnel system. The site covers five acres and transporting an installation from the loading bay to the window can take hours.
Then when you get to the window everything has to be taken through a tiny door into a really constricted space, built and lit ... all before the curtain comes down and any mistakes or mishaps are on show to the passing traffic!
“We had to create the best lighting that wasn’t going to reflect off the mirror finish on the panels. That was something we couldn’t really test in advance – no dry build could exactly match the situation in the Harrods’ window.”
The final window made an arresting impression to thousands of people every day as they emerged from Knightsbridge tube station and came face to face with a visual blast from Beats.
The job was such a success that Impact Retail has worked once again with Beats – commissioned by Rosie Lee – to do another Harrods window.