The luxury look: picking the perfect finishes

The luxury look:  picking the perfect finishes

With the rise of high-end retail brands over the last decade, the market for high end luxury goods is a crowded place. To now attract those social ‘category A’ clients brands have to offer a strong experience for consumers that stands apart from competitors.

The increased importance of brand identity has extended to include the specific category of retail furniture, considering both the functionality and the aesthetics; not only to aide the display of goods but to also play a part in the overall experience and brand message.

Importance of design – Does the furniture reflect the overall brand identity, the product it’s displaying and also the functionality for it to be produced and used effectively in a retail environment? The design of a unit must take into account lots of factors, such as brand identity, material selection, Visual Merchandising requirements, environment of unit and of course the product itself. This will tend to move away from typical standard size items and be more customised to the product range to help differentiate the item from the rest of the market.

Importance of material selection – High-end means a strong message and identity, and by linking the product with a material finish of the furniture, you are reaffirming the position of the product.  In the European Markets, finishes such as Brass, Black Nickel, Wood veneers and High Gloss spray finish are very much prevalent within the high-end marketplace.

Some brands have adapted the material selection further and allowed for specialist custom-made materials and finishes such as woven metal sheet and laminated glass with fabric used in the laminate to create a glass fabric pressed effect. Invariably the incorporation of these finishes means an increase in the cost of units over and above any standard finish that a retailer or brand in the middle-end of the market may use. However, in terms of identity this is important for a brand to make its product stand-out.

Importance of finish – With the advent of a new non-standard design coupled with the specialist finish requirements, the engineering and production aspect of high-end has to be executed perfectly. Details tend to be more critical as any imperfection is noticeable on an expensive finish.  Joints that may not been seen under higher levels of merchandise with middle-end brands tend to be used as a sign of quality and finish of the product that is sitting on or hanging from the unit.

The paint spray finish that shows an orange peel affect would have no place in a high-end store, so the longer process of spraying is used to achieve the perfect finish. The only exception to the rule for any imperfections is generally with natural products where book matching is required, the increase in waste from this has led to brands accepting the imperfections as a means to make their units stand out, emphasising individuality.

Aiming toward the high-end of retail has its pitfalls, like any other market. The consumer expects a higher quality shopping experience all round; from product to display and the overall store aesthetics.  The challenge is to ensure that all components are completed to absolute perfection. Sourcing the correct suppliers and micro-managing the processes to ensure any small faults are rectified before production is also vital.

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