POLAND. Baltona’s new stores at Warsaw Chopin Airport aim to create a sense of belonging, while reflecting the “vibrancy, creativity and energy” of the city.

That’s according to London-based airport design specialists The Design Solution, who were employed by Baltona to carry out the designs of each of the stores at the airport. As reported, the retailer’s flagship duty free store Multistore Baltona was recently unveiled.

Multistore Baltona offers a vibrant retail atmosphere – and makes sure to showcase Żubrówka, a flavoured vodka that is popular locally.

The Design Solution Director Nick Taylor has offered more detail on the background and approach that the company took.

“Having worked in Warsaw on and off over the past 20 years, I have witnessed first-hand the astonishing transformation this city has gone through,” he said. “In the late 90s I would have described this as a grey and gritty city with pockets of decent retail mostly situated in a few shopping centres in the suburbs. It certainly felt a long way behind other capital cities in Western Europe.

“Now, it is an incredibly vibrant and forward thinking city, tourist hub and centre for big business whose geographical position at the heart of Europe makes it an increasingly busy destination.”

The discs that make up the dynamic ceilings were inspired by the scales on a mermaid statue in Warsaw.

Taylor noted that Warsaw Chopin Airport has mirrored that development. “The airport has paralleled the increase in travel and expanded over time, adding significant areas of airside retail and so, when Baltona approached us to work with them on re-instating them at Chopin, I was delighted to be part of the team,” he said.

The Design Solution Director Nick Taylor: “We worked closely with Baltona to optimise the space, maximising the amount of retail whilst ensuring that passengers penetrate the entire space.”

“When approaching the designs for the main 1,200sq m store, we worked closely with Baltona to optimise the space, maximising the amount of retail whilst ensuring that passengers penetrate the entire space.”

One of the key challenges in designing the store was that despite its close proximity to security, it is an island site. “So we have to work hard to entice passengers in before they go to their gate,” Taylor explained.

“On top of this there is a rear entrance/exit onto a second corridor where we want to attract passengers in rather than lose their attention before they have seen the entire offer.

“Subsequently, the space is arranged around two circular ‘hubs’; in the West zone we have liquor, with a prime location for Żubrówka at its centre, and in the East zone we placed perfume & cosmetics.

“The central part of the store offers watches & jewellery to one side of a freestanding wall while sunglasses and confectionery face onto two banks of tills at the rear of the shop.”

Taylor said the colour palette was chosen to give each space its own look and feel, appropriate to the product area.

The main store space is arranged around two circular ‘hubs’; one which highlights liquor, and the other in which perfume & cosmetics are placed.

“We wanted to give the space a sense of belonging, reflecting the vibrancy, creativity and energy of this remarkable city,” he commented. “We were inspired from an unlikely source in the old town where there is a mermaid statue, the symbol of Warsaw, a popular tourist photo opportunity. The scales on the mermaid were the inspiration behind the discs that make up the dynamic ceilings in the store.

“We liked the idea of making reference to this historical and recognisable icon, especially in such a contemporary way. Indeed, the ‘scales’ in the store ceiling incorporate programmable LEDs which respond to the in-store digital media almost like a giant pixel.”