Platform exhibition opening: Showcasing, John Pawson- Framed.
Thursday 10th May 2012
Habitat, 208 Kings Road, Chelsea, London.
Last Thursday was the opening of Platform, a design initiative by Habitat which aims to share remarkable and thought provoking design with its customers to encourage, support and promote talent. The evening was held in the recently refurbished Chelsea branch, which was one of the first Habitat stores opened by Sir Terence Conran, founder of Habitat.
Having been looking forward to the event, I was slightly disappointed when my plus one cancelled last minute, but the Habitat team sent me a reassuring tweet to say that I would be well looked after, and indeed I was. Upon arrival I exchanged my jacket for a glass of champagne and was met by Marc, Habitat’s Marketing Manager, who briefed me on the background of Platform and what they are hoping to achieve.
“Platform is one of the ways Habitat is stepping out in an attempt to recreate its existing brand and convey to its customers that it is more than just furniture, it’s an appreciation of art, space and personality. We are housing the event at the first Habitat store ever opened by the founder Terence Conran and we want to invite customers and our industry partners to initiate design ideas, and for Platform to ultimately serve as space for brand creativity”
Platform opened with an exhibition of work by designer and architect John Pawson who broke through the industry in 1995 after designing Calvin Klein’s first flagship store in New York. Pawson focuses on ways of approaching fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials. His many residential and commercial interiors have included homes, art galleries and stores in London, Dublin, New York, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo, and his subsequent projects have spanned a wide range of scales and building typologies, from stage sets and exhibitions to boats and monasteries.
The curator for Platform is Suzanne Trocme who has written for publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Telegraph, Interior Design and Wallpaper, where she became Architecture and Design Editor. In addition to her contributions to journalism, Trocmé has written a number of books including ‘Influential Interiors’, ‘Fabric’ and ‘Cool Homes in Hot Places’.
Having managed to grab a brief moment with Suzanne, she expressed to me the importance of the ‘design process’ and how Platform is all about being organic, and inspiring the designers whilst also creating transparency between the company and its customers. Personally I think this level of thinking is vital for companies that are seeking to create a high value experience with their customers. Several insights into consumer behaviour have shown that customers buy ‘into’ the brand, as the behaviour and choices define the expression of a certain taste- a personal identity.
From my experience into consumer buying habits, and a customer of Habitat furniture, I believe that by creating a customer experience such as Platform, it says, “this is who we are, come and share our interests” which sets off a combination of emotional factors that makes you feel that they understand you and your values.
I think this is a great move forward for Habitat and I look forward to new exhibitions at Platform and exciting developments in their home deco range.
Here are some pictures from the evening; and of course, many thanks to the Habitat team for the invite and congratulations on such a successful evening!