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Retail Designer Focus: Peter Marino

The role of the retail designer just got a lot harder. The popularity of online shopping was already a massive threat to physical retail stores, but since the pandemic, 71% of UK shoppers say they are buying more online than ever before. So what can retailers do to tempt buyers back into stores? Much of this responsibly will fall onto the shoulders of the retail designer. Giving shoppers the wow factor, right from the highstreet, all the way through to the in-store experience is key to getting people back into shops.

There’s one retail designer out there who has carved a career giving shoppers an out-of-this-world retail experience. That’s Peter Marino. Way before Covid was a thing, Marino was prolific in the retail design space. His work with some of the world’s biggest luxury brands turned the architect into the retail designer to work with.

Here’s a collection of some our favourite flagship stores designed by Peter Marino.

Louis Vuitton: London Flagship Store

All Images: Peter Marino Architect

In 2019, right before the world’s retail stores were forced to close their doors, Peter Marino sent shockwaves through the retail design scene with his stunning revamp of Louis Vuitton’s London flagship store.

A completely new vision for the brand completed the work former Creative Director Marc Jacobs began in 1997. The famous brown and tan monograms were nowhere to be seen as colour exploded onto New Bond Street. Reminiscent of the monogram multicolor line which Takashi Murakami designed for the brand back in the early 00’s, Peter Marino’s retail design also featured commissioned artworks by 25 artists.

Visiting Louis Vuitton became an ‘experience’ rather than a shopping trip, something retail designers are trying desperately to create as a way to encourage shoppers back into store. 

Chanel. Ginza, Japan

All Images: Peter Marino Architect

The Chanel Ginza Tower store is Peter Marino’s baby. It opened in 2004 and was Chanel’s largest flagship store. This vast project has required Marino to wear both the hat of the architect and retail designer as the site has been developed over the past two decades. 

The outside of the building featured a 10-story high media wall. The first of its kind on that scale. The exterior then showed messages and patterns to passers by. The store incorporates gallery areas where concerts and exhibitions are held. Another lure for shoppers. 

The Ginza Tower secured Marino the role of retail designer for Chanel and his style has become melded to the Chanel brand ever since. His relationship with the legendary Karl Lagerfeld was one of great mutual respect and his dedication to the history and core ideals of the Chanel brand makes the partnership seamless, even after Lagerfeld’s passing.

Karl Lagerfeld & Peter Marino

Bulgari: 5th Avenue, New York

All Images: Peter Marino Architect

If anyone out there thinks that the job of a retail designer is boring, they may well think again after seeing Marino’s reimagined flagship store for Bulgari in New York. The store’s design demonstrates the importance of understanding a brand’s history when it comes to designing a retail store which resonates with shoppers. 

Bulgari’s origins lie in Rome, when a Greek silversmith opened his first store selling silver jewellery inspired by the Byzantine Empire, part of the Roman Empire which spanned southern Italy, across the Mediterranean to Greece and Turkey. The brand’s signature style is feminine and filled with flower motifs and Roman iconography and gold. Lot’s of gold.

Marino took inspiration from Bulgari’s heritage to create a store which is like walking into a Byzantine Palace. His abundant use of luxury materials is still delivered with taste as Italian marble is paired with clean white walls to showcase jewellery like exhibition pieces.

Peter Marino - Image:

The King of Luxury Retail Design

Peter Marino’s ability to honour a brand’s history and heritage is what makes him the retailer design of choice for some of the world’s biggest luxury brands. He has worked for Christian Dior, Fendi, Zegna and Loewe and has also worked on luxury hotel and commercial projects for the Four Seasons and Sotheby’s. 

Marino’s big personality and snazzy dress sense has also made him an infamous influencer in the New York fashion scene. He collaborates on diffusion lines for homewares, textiles and furniture and continues to defy the laws of aging, showing boundless energy running his architecture and design practice well into his 70’s.

Marino’s website is packed full of industry inspiration for any designer. Go take a look…

Fancy Following in Peter Marino's Footsteps?

The NDA's online BA (Hons) Retail Design has been specifically tailored to train you for a career in industry. Start your degree any time, study full or part-time from home.

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