Brief

The ‘inventors of laminate’, Formica, sought an agency to design their first Pop-up Showroom. Located in Clerkenwell, the heart of the London interior design community, they wanted to engage and inspire current and future creatives and specifiers. It was intrinsic to the Pop-up Showroom to convey the brand’s unrivalled quality, service, sustainability, and innovative product lines.

Having begun in 1913, Formica has played a significant role in our British pop-culture history and has an epitome of cool, modern characteristics that they wanted to share through short-term experiences throughout the space. Individual assets were required to be designed and created for the Clerkenwell location, but to stay in line with Formica’s sustainability values, each asset needed to be modular, adaptable, and portable. Able to move and suit any environment, so that they could be reused and recycled at other Formica locations.

Approach

Transcending through two floors, O12 designed a space leaving customers feeling inspired, collaborative, and excited. Upon walking through the entrance, customers are greeted at a sleek, pared-back welcome desk immediately drawing focus to the hero moment. A 3D Tunnel, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey, is open-sided with subtle sightlines and features mirror panels at the entrance and exit, to lead visitors into the space to offer an infinity effect. The tunnel provides an immersive experience that takes customers on a journey of Formica’s history. Utilising lights, photography, graphics, key pop-culture figures, and Formica’s products to build, the tunnel animates the timeline and invites customers to open their minds to a world of possibilities that Formica can influence.

Following the exit of the tunnel, customers are taken into the present, the materials library filled with bright, modern samples, where they are invited to co-design new innovative ideas. Built with off-white racking and laminate sample holders, the hero of the area is the product. A minimal workspace takes centre stage with accent colours from Formica’s laminate colours. The workspace invites customers to interact and select the materials. Equally, there is an informal lounge where new ideas and conversations can begin.

The staircase takes you to a private seminar area. A space for meetings held by Formica, an impressive space to invite prospects, new & loyal customers to present product launches & ideas. Both the lounge and seminar area have muted tones with the use of accent tones on the furniture and artwork.

Impact

Formica required a showroom that was as powerful and exciting as its brand. O12 achieved this through the art of storytelling, celebrating their history of being the original laminate manufacturer. O12 designed a showroom that encompasses their past, present, and future, creating an environment of inspiration.

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