EUROPE. Three vastly-experienced industry players have formed a consultancy targeting airports, retailers, brand owners as well as domestic commercial real estate owners and operators. We speak to Roger Copeland, (Founder and MD of Detail Design), Peter Eriksson (Founder & MD of Eriksson + Partner) and Lukas Fuchs (Founder and MD of Fox Centric) about the aims of their new business, named Create.

The Moodie Davitt Report: Peter, you have been in the travel retail and aviation world for many years and now you have embarked on a new venture. Tell us about the origins of Create and its mission?

Peter Eriksson (PE): We are a team of experienced service providers, with a profound background in strategic and operational executive management, financial service, architecture and design-to-build competence.

We support our clients in optimising the value of their commercial space, based upon each client and their partners, customer profile and mix, the local market and commercial landscape.

Our services include strategic development, financial modelling, sizing and use of commercial space, marketing and communication, digitalisation, architecture and design-to-build actions.

(Left to right) Roger Copeland, Peter Eriksson and Lukas Fuchs. The trio have combined to formed the new consultancy, Create

Tell us a little more please about the initiators of this partnership?

PE: I founded Eriksson + Partner in 2010, a consulting firm supporting travel retail – airports, retailers as well as vendors – in identifying opportunities and challenges as well as developing and implementing a consumer-centric offer. The objective of the business is to accomplish commercial success, operational excellence and significantly increase profitability.

I have a strong background in airport executive management. At Zürich Airport, as CCO I was responsible for all non-aeronautical activities. In travel retail, I was MD for The Nuance Group (Europe South). I have also held executive management positions in domestic retail (e.g. IKEA of Sweden). It is a perfect background for consulting and coaching. My background is unique within the consulting industry.

Roger Copeland (RC): I founded Detail Design in 2000. The company provides professional services in architecture, interior design, retail and F&B design and acts as a design-to-build agency. I have worked as architect and interior designer with Sulzer IBB, responsible for creative development of office buildings and interior design. With Haus + Herd and Architecture Fabrik Switzerland I designed residential and office premises.

As Chief Project Manager with Swatch, I was acting as department leader for global project realisation. On behalf of Swiss Disaster Relief Unit, I was Project Manager, in charge of transforming building complexes into refugee camps. For the Australian cinema operator Village Roadshow (Schweiz) AG I developed multiplex cinema projects in Switzerland.

Roger Copeland played a lead role in the creation of the eye-catching Pier Zero Bar at Helsinki Airport

Lukas Fuchs: I decided in 2020, after a 12-year spell with Zürich Airport, to become independent, establishing a start-up consulting company named Fox Centric. The objective is to make my experience in digitalisation and financial services available to the market.

For three years at Zürich Airport I was responsible for digital B2C business. Before that I was Head Controlling for seven years, with a focus on group business controlling, project portfolio and construction accounting. I also have a background as Finance and Project Manager with Swarovski and as Key Account Manager with Pago/Fuji Seal Switzerland.

When did the three of you start working together and how did the idea of the new partnership Create arise?

PE: I started working with Roger almost 20 years ago. At that time, we engaged Detail Design to lead design-to-build projects for The Nuance Group in several countries. Since then, we have been working together on various projects around the world, either on Roger’s or my own initiative, in several cases also on behalf of airports, travel retailers, brand owners or commercial real estate operators.

I worked with Lukas during my time as Zürich Airport Controller, where he supported my business unit with forward-thinking financial modelling. He has also supported me in various projects in Europe during the previous six to seven years, providing excellent analysis and scenarios.

In the years since, we have got to know each other, allowing us to build a relationship based upon trust and respect.

After intensive studies of the market, we didn’t find any consulting company combining our various competencies, with the approach of “all under one roof”. Interviewing business partners convinced us that this is a business model which the market has waited for – no relay race, seamless knowhow transfer, short decision paths and cost efficient. Together we have a unique background in travel retail and domestic retail, airport executive management, project management, consulting and coaching.

Create was finally established in May 2020, ready to go live this month.

What are your USPs and how do you differentiate from other industry consultants?

LF: With our background in strategic and operational executive management and consulting – in travel and domestic retail – with confirmed success and results, we bring all the expertise needed to the table. Also we have acknowledged expertise in economics, with a proven track record, secure competitive analysis and best-in-class financial modelling.

Our award-winning design concepts confirm a creative and future-oriented thinking.

We believe in innovation instead of best practice. With a design-to-build experience, we take the client’s initiative from vision to reality, bringing dreams and ideas to life.

PE: I’m confident we differentiate by our all-encompassing service offer. The output of our work doesn’t end with a nice-looking report but continues until the point of go-live or beyond.

Our clients profit from our modular system which allows various combinations of our performance portfolio. We always guarantee a consumer-centric approach, without compromises. We strive for excellence and I firmly believe our industry urgently needs some fresh thinking and acting, which we can deliver. We love to think out of the box, not just copying already seen and tried ideas, that often lead to mediocre results.

RC: I believe keeping the best of today, with a “less is more” approach, adding new ideas will open up new opportunities and get the thrill back into travelling. Travel retail, with luxury, premium and affordable offers remain core, as well as an attractive food & beverage offer. Reducing the depth and breadth of the offer reduces cannibalisation and enhances profitability and frees space for new, not yet seen, adventures. Today, there is simply too much of everything available.

Airport commercial environments all look similar, without exception. It’s time to change and we are looking forward to support future-oriented airports, ready to challenge “the known”.

The stylish Centre Bar at Zürich Airport with its spectacular airside views is another project in which Roger Copeland was closely involved

Can you highlight some case studies?

PE: The Pier Zero Bar Helsinki Airport. The Pier Zero Bar is the spot in Helsinki Airport where you begin your journey – of course right after that you have gone through all the hassle of checking in. The design mainly sets new standards with regards to the architectural appearance and structural set-ups in the world of gastronomy. The design is unambiguously a milestone in the manufacturability of structural designs and there is not one single component that is straight or simple. Together with the outstanding visual appearance, it forms a combination of uniqueness and quality.

Center Bar Zürich Airport. This is an eye onto the world in the most prominent position at Zürich Airport. The Center Bar attracts customers to it as a result of its stylish design and spectacular views. This important project for the airport was created by Detail Design from the first idea sketches right through to the turnkey handover, a milestone in the development of contemporary gastronomy design. With its restaurant, open space lounge and piano bar, the Center Bar is one of the most popular meeting points.

Lindt Chocolate Store. More than 60 shop projects, shop-in-shops and counter shops were designed and executed by Detail Design in Europe over the past five years for the most popular chocolate company of Switzerland. The expansion plan also incorporated the creation of a new shop design, the technical development of the interior and the work out of the entire corporate design guidelines including project management.

Olympic Store Concept. The Olympic Summer and Winter Games are the sporting highlight of mankind. Every four years the best of the world’s best compete with each other in the arenas of the Olympic stadiums and encourage each other to achieve top physical performances. The Olympic rings symbolise the community of all continents, their people from all countries of the world and the common sporting spirit: a sports event with history, tradition, fair play and joy.

Roger Copeland and Detail Design have worked on more than 60 shops for the Swiss chocolatier Lindt

Performance analysis and feasibility studies in, for example, Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Salzburg and Vienna; analysis of Duty Free, Travel Value, Special Retail and Services performance; identifying and advising on best-in-class operational model and the assessment of potential retail operators; performance and quality analysis of all commercial activities, including sense of place, space management, merchandise and brand mix, functionality, and passenger friendliness; advising on and supporting the execution of commercial upgrades which aim to significantly improve commercial turnover and airport revenue.

Second opinions and feasibility studies of masterplans, concepts and projects in, for example, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Helsinki and Zürich; the redesign and modelling of masterplans and expansion of commercial real estate, including office premises, conference facilities, hotel and retail, including user concept, space allocation and visualisation.

How do you see the evolution of airports in the future?

LF: Innovative solutions with digitalisation will continue to make life easier for us. We need to embrace these solutions with an open mind, not trying to reinvent the wheel but instead adapt proven solutions, being proactive instead of reactive.

Instead of competing with leading innovators, we need to take them into the boat, allowing quicker use of attractive solutions, such as wayfinding. Omnichannel shopping is already a norm, with consumers expecting to find and shop for everything, everywhere, with contact-free payment, and to get their purchase through their preferred distribution method.

RC: The use of space and design demand the utmost flexibility, allowing changes of offer of products, services and experiences at any time and at minimum cost.

The ongoing upgrading of airports into luxury palaces hasn’t matched the profile of users for several years and is too costly in investment and maintenance and thus not sustainable.

PE: The emotional experience must not be underrated. I believe, airports can be developed into an oasis, a place where you want to, not have to, be. The ultimate objective must be to create an environment where travellers seek to arrive early, allowing themselves time to enjoy the experience. We need to do our outmost to avoid welcoming our guests like travellers by train and bus just waiting for the end of the journey.

We must avoid developing into “clones”. Millions of self-proclaimed “influencers” try to tell us what we should wear, eat, drink and do – and we follow them and pay for this.

Thousands of wise guys, with no professional skills, know better how to cope with, for example, a pandemic and waste time commenting on what to do and avoid – and we read and take this for real.

Innumerable offers of spirits, perfume, cosmetic, confectionery as well as fashion, leather goods and more flood the travel retail market, without differentiation, except for the brand name and perhaps vintage.

Airports look alike, offer the same, at similar prices, without a “DNA”, allowing them to stand out from the crowd. The need for an evolution is obvious. I am convinced, the best way to predict the future – is to create it!

Create’s scope of services

  1. Operational (Coaching; Performance analysis, feasibility studies and second opinions; Financial modelling; Health check; Due diligence)
  2. Commercial (Commercial and terminal planning; Concession and tender planning; Marketing and communication; Digital experience)
  3. Design (Architecture; Interior & brand identity design; Retail/food & beverage design; Virtual reality experience; Design-to-build services)

Announcing a unique special offer for airports, commercial real estate owners, retailers or brand owners

Second opinion/performance analysis for Masterplan, Strategy, Concept, Commercial offer

A one-day workshop will be used to identify opportunities and challenges. The outcome of the workshop is a high-level second opinion with a written report, which will either raise the “comfort level” or draw attention to hurdles, needed to be overcome.

An assessment of the commercial offer (use of space, product/brand offer, tenant mix, sales, revenue, KPIs) will identify potential gaps to the industry benchmark.

Client’s investment

Allocating time for a one-day workshop, together with us, and our travel expenses. Contact us now and profit from a unique opportunity. Subject to time available.

Contact: Create, c/o Detail Design GmbH, Albulastrasse 57, 8048 Zürich, Switzerland.

+41 79 418 11 26 (Peter Eriksson)