FRANCE. The Design Solution has revealed how it created a “unique and authentic” experience at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport for customers while optimising the commercial space.

The specialist airport design consultancy worked on the enlargement, reconfiguration and refurbishment of the airport’s commercial areas across 1,800sq m of retail space. The centrepiece of the design was Dufry’s new 1,700sq m walk-through duty free store.

The ‘Terre d’Occitanie’ space brings together local specialities.

The Design Solution worked with Toulouse-Blagnac Airport to create the commercial plan, which formulated a new retail layout. This involved the construction of a new security area, the conversion of an existing check in area to form the new duty free shop, and the transformation of the old duty free shops into a new retail area.

Dufry subsequently appointed the company to design the main duty free shop. The Design Solution’s aim was to create a “multi-paced retail experience that offers instore category destinations tailored to each key customer profile”. The design hoped to convey a sense of the city, its heritage, and its stories.

The store has a central island heart that anchors the Liquor and Food categories, The Design Solution said. Spun off from there are the perfume & cosmetics/beauty category and a local food & wine section. Category adjacencies were established to maximise footfall, dwell time and penetration.

The Design Solution has combined a “multi-paced retail experience” with a sense of the city at Dufry’s Toulouse Duty Free.

Assessing how the spirit of Toulouse was recreated in the store, The Design Solution stated: “The city’s familiar soft tones of dusty pink and terracotta are subtly echoed across the space, creating modern counterpoints to the backdrop of traditionally styled timber wall-panelling that reflect the classic grandeur of the city’s architectural heritage.

“In liquor, for example, the panelling in opulent golden tones projects a mood of luxury while a modern edge is inserted by the contemporary design of the humidor, featuring rose-toned glass that complements the classically-styled walls.”

Local products feature prominently across categories but many are brought together in the ‘Terre d’Occitanie’ space. Local specialities there include cheese, foie gras, olive oils, wine and confectionery. “Natural wood tones dominate the space, including the dramatic back wall seemingly made of traditional wine boxes, celebrating the region’s great wines,” The Design Solution said. “A classic Citroen van adds a stylish touch of fun and instore theatre.”

Local materials, typography and products offer a glimpse of the city.

The centrepiece of the perfume & cosmetics/beauty area is the Fragrance Garden, which celebrates the region’s natural beauty and the many gardens and flowers that can be found in Toulouse. Two rose gold-framed room dividers create a backdrop to the space and host a series of merchandising niches personalised by local brands.

The store also makes use of local materials and classic typography that is commonly used across the city.

The walk-through store incorporates a number of specialist product zones targeting customer profiles, including a Kids’ Zone, a strong digital focus in the ‘contentainment’ area, and a performance space to add to the lively street market mood. Within the main store there are also dedicated spaces for specialist category concepts Suncatcher (sunglasses) and TimeBox (watches), designed by The Design Solution to incorporate a local expression.

The ambitious design of the store reflects a desire to create a vibrant and local experience.

“This exciting development at Toulouse-Blagnac perfectly blends commercial imperatives and innovative design ambitions,” said The Design Solution Director Nick Taylor. “Dufry’s retail planning meticulously aligns the commercial offer to the needs of the passenger profile and The Design Solution’s interior design supports this ethos to drive a unique experience for the customer and an optimally effective commercial space for the retailer and the airport.

“Along with a number of other airport locations we’ve worked with – such as Heraklion, Montego Bay, Nice and Wroclaw – I see Toulouse-Blagnac as part of a pioneering wave of ambitious regional and relatively smaller airports committed to matching any major hub in expressing a unique local personality for their airport.”