It is a new team arising from GrupIdea, with a large experience in implementing stores for fashion chains.
La Plaça de l’Àngel of Barcelona is one of those places where you’ve been dozens of times (obviously if you are from Barcelona, but there are also many tourists moving about there) without knowing its name. If an “àngel” is mentioned in Barcelona, you would probably think in “Portal de l’Àngel” (door of angel), the old door wall now converted into one of the most expensive shopping street in Spain. The square (la plaça) that we are now referring to is also located in the center. It is like a mark on the Via Layetana on the Gothic, it’s perfect for taking a coffee on a terrace, next to the Roman wall and confluence of the main political street; Jaume I, where the main buildings of the city are located such as the Council and La Generalitat of Catalonia. There is a building, which before had a store below and a warehouse on the top floor, this warehouse has been converted into a space of creation and projection because its current inhabitants are architects. It is the head office of Grup Idea, on July became another ephemeral place to introduce a new business adventure, a line of “core design” for brands. An exhibition and a video projection were presented, and a cocktail entertained by a DJ. Anyone who has been there that day and returned the next day maybe will not recognize it at all.
The floor is an example of a careful and clean design oriented towards an enjoyable work. Certainly it does not look as that day; a music place to socialize while drinking. Behold the magic of creating environments. To change, to give personality to the spaces, conveying and creating image is part of the missions of both Grup Idea as its new line Nuklee. However two branches do it in a different way.
Grup Idea was created in 1996, founded by Arturo Ortiz and Luis Saiz as architectural and engineering office, and today is a professional services company specializing in corporate architecture. Grup Idea has worked hard, among other in the retail sector. It is defined not only within this sector, but also within the banking sector. They have a wide range of services. Retail, corporate offices, hotels and restaurants, healthcare and cultural facilities are the main areas, where Grupidea operates. They work in Spain, France and Mexico, where have its branches offices and in many other countries, from Portugal to Turkey, from Italy to the UK, and half-dozen markets, including China. In the Retail sector, GrupIdea has been worked for brands such as Bershka, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Desigual, Escada, Foot Locker, Guess, Karen Millen, Kiko, Levi Strauss & Co., Liverpool, Mango, Miss Sixty Energy, Nike, O’neill, Palacio de Hierro, Rosa Clará, Sfera and Tiffany & Co.
“Grupidea specializes in implementation of spaces” -explains Lluís Saiz Anton, Business & Development Manager – “We seek the premise for the client in a technical level, we make technical feasibility reports and perform architectural and engineering projects, and provide services of ‘project management’ to supervise the work construction, accompany the client throughout the whole process, until the store opens”. “Within our strategic plan, we consider to move further”. Large retail customers look at us as the ideal partner to multiply spaces, but they contact us when they have a clear idea about the final design of facilities. However, we also have the required know-how to help creating and designing the first store to sell more. ” At this point they decided to set up a team entirely dedicated to this activity, which have been located in another office (because the development timings are different), and it has an own brand: Nuklee. The name, read in English, sounds like the Catalan “nucli”, it means core, and as pointed by the same word, its mission is to create “core design” for brands, designing spaces and its components (objects that inhabit those spaces, functional or decorative) to arise unique and innovative purchase experiences. Miquel Àngel Julià, Design Director and Manager of Nuklee, leads a team of four people (including himself), two architects and two industrial designers, experts in the banking sector (“We have worked for about twenty banking entities”) and has taken the leap to retail sector for fashion brands. The team is larger according to projects “depending on that we have at hand, maybe we need a biologist or anthropologist to help us make the initial focus, and in other cases we may need a partnership with another entity related to new materials: we like working with a supplier network expertise in the industry that have been acquired throughout history Grupidea. What Nuklee does? They do concepts, from the beginning of the value chain. “All of that just to create a space”. It comprises chairs, lamps, diverse furniture, showcases and multiple objects.
“Both Grupidea and Nuklee, help brands to grow, to expand and to sell better. However in Nuklee we create the concept and determine the design. We do not work on implementation with a guideline; we work on a prior phase to define this guideline”. Sometimes it is not just about designing something that is supposed to be in the store, but reconsider everything, put it into crisis, and maybe decides that object has not to be there. For example, for Apple Stores nobody had to design the cash desk, they decided to delete them. Clients go with every clerk, in their iPhone, there has been designed a shopping experience. “What is retail? asks himself Julià. “Retail is all and all is retail. At the end, all the spaces conveying brand. Companies make their offices more and more authentic stores that sells image, so they are visited offices, just think about Google or Desigual offices, they are designed to be visited by both suppliers and clients. We are designing chairs and lighting systems for companies of the hotel and contract sector, because those elements also conveying brand image, in clients that previously have not worried about that necessity. “In stores of the retail, it is clearer than ever: retail not only sells clothing or other products, but it sells itself.” “Increasingly, many retail companies reserve a space to transmit these brand values, sometimes thinking that the final sells product will be elsewhere, perhaps online. It is for these communications need that Loewe to have a store in Paseo de Gracia of Barcelona, which is practically a museum to transmit its values. In fact, there are two retail fashion trends: those who claim to add value the garment by involving it in a space, and those who just put more products, much better. In Nuklee we help the garment being part of that brand envelope.” Since this year, Nuklee is an autonomous division; although its team began to work in its field in 2014. They are looking for clients, who have will to communicate values and sell more through a store image and brand, but also aims the client or the supplier of elements used to create image. How big must be the client? There is no profile in that regard. Nuklee can work for large chains, typical customers of Grupidea, but also can work with small businesses. Nuklee has just designed a new counter to a stationery store that does not belong to any large chain, it has only two stores. Nuklee offers bespoke services and that applies to small and medium-sized enterprises. The difference between a big chain is that in case they need to replicate the entire concept, the implementation can be commissioned to Grupidea.