And the winner is…
This week’s Monday was a special Monday!
We are proud to announce that our littleBits Pop-Up Store just won a prize in the Branded Environments category of Fast Company’s 2016 Innovation by Design Award!
littleBits, an educational electronic toy company that had previously sold exclusively online, commissioned us to design their first pop-up retail shop. The motivation behind this move to a brick and mortar location was to allow the company, over the course of 6 months, to better understand the relationship between their customers and their products; to create a place for creativity and experimentation. The space was to function not only as a commercial entity but also as a workshop, a laboratory, and a venue for collaboration; allowing the public to inspire and be inspired, to make, and to share their inventions with the world.
This led to a unique store layout, that first introduced visitors to the products and how they are used, then, displayed pre-assembled examples along with simple instructions for replicating them, and finally, revealed a large workshop space, where they could create their own projects. The goal of the workshop was to dissolve the barrier between the technology we consume and the technology we invent. With the many product components, props, materials and recipes available, visitors were free to invent anything, big or small.
In the spirit of open-source, they could then leave their creations for others to remix and remake, or, they could buy them on the spot. Shoppers became inventors.
In order for the project to succeed, users of all knowledge and ability levels would have to be able to engage without feeling confused or intimidated. An objective therefore became designing an experience that democratizes the invention process. Clear and well integrated signage, instructions, and usage examples throughout the space provided beginners with an easy entry point. In addition, the large shared tables in the workshop facilitated collaboration and knowledge sharing between visitors, and staff stationed at each worktable were always ready to assist at the call of an electronic page button.
The large-scale touch activated musical wall, as well as the kinetic window display (both created using the retail products) provided further opportunities to connect, hypothesize, and inspire more advanced projects.
Because of the temporary nature of the store, and to accommodate the potentially changing needs of the company as they learned more about their products, all of the interior furniture was designed to be modular to allow for re-organization, project showcasing and redeployment.
One solution was the custom pegboard, which became an important design element creating a recurring motif throughout the retail space. Custom modular plexiglass shelving, along with standard pegboard hardware were mounted to the giant pegboards, providing all of the necessary storage, display fixtures and functionality of traditional workshops. All other furniture was similarly designed to be multi-use and adaptable.
The littleBits pop-up store served as a lab for consumers and as a classroom for littleBits, allowing them to further reinvent themselves, the retail experience, and the world around them.