Refurbishing Beirut’s leading department store.
ABC is Lebanon’s oldest department store; a name that remains engraved in the hearts and minds of the Lebanese shopper. For over 80 years, ABC has provided customers with quality merchandise, professional service and a vibrant and eclectic shopping environment.
Located in the heart of Beirut, ABC was the first retailer to provide fixed prices in a country where bargaining was a tradition, first to employ women on its sales force, the first company to advertise in Lebanon, and first department store to open its doors in the Middle East. Our brief was to refresh ABC Achrafieh in anticipation of new competitors to the market.
The aim was to create an identifiable and memorable in-store visual identity to strengthen ABC’s offer as a true destination shopping experience.
The city of Beirut has been described as a city of contrasts; “beautiful and ugly, pockmarked and damaged, and glamorous and exciting.” Our design concept takes inspiration from the distinctive personality of this unique city and from ABC’s rich history of customer service and innovation. We redesigned the store, reviewed the brand mix, layout, flow, adjacencies and circulation, and created brand guidelines to set the standard and control the branded concessions in-store.
The new design celebrates ABC’s heritage, referencing the innovation of Lebanese architecture and design and the inherent sense of style of its people. The store design DNA is based on energy and theatre – a vibrant mix of glamour, elegance and sophistication with an urban edge. The material palette combines glamorous materials with edgier ones, juxtaposing brass against concrete and decorative details against slick contemporary forms.
The premium, bold and contemporary design aesthetic features clean sight lines, unique focal points and stand out materials. A key design feature is a statement pattern floor that anchors each level in-store, referencing traditional Lebanese tiles with a thoroughly contemporary approach.
Working closely with ABC, we reviewed the overall store layout and department adjacencies to create a much more compelling proposition for the long-term future of the store, and enabling growth in key areas such as Beauty and Accessories.
A big operational challenge for the refurbishment was that the store needed to remain open throughout. With this in mind, the store was redesigned in phases, with only one floor closing at a time so it could continue trading.
The new in-store identity is personal to ABC, differentiating the department store brand from the products it sells and reemphasising that it is a destination brand in its own right. The extensive remodelling of the store maximises the retail space and increases the fashion offer by around 20%.
94% positive customer
feedback on the redesign
Customer comments in response to the redesign include: