Design showcase: first Empora department store from Apparel Group

10th August 2015

Apparel Group has opened its first multi-brand department store, situated in the new Oman Avenues Mall in Muscat’s coastal district of Al Khuwair in Oman, under the name Empora Department Store.

The fashion conglomerate plans to roll out 25 of the stores over the next five years, with the first store acting as a prototype. Puerto Rican architecture and interiors practice Alvarez-Diaz & Villalón (AD&V) has developed the store’s design.

The store seeks to create a luxurious and immersive environment for Apparel Group’s brands. The company is the local custodian of a number of brands in the sectors including fashion, footwear, cosmetics and food. Among these are Aldo Accessories, Bottega Verde, Austin Reed, Bench, Kenneth Cole, Dune, Tim Hortons and Nine West.

AD&V was chosen because of its branding experience and its commitment to sustainable design and building practices. It has created a distinct look for the store, taking cues from nature walks to create a sense of discovery and adventure for shoppers as they navigate the store.

The storefront features a glass façade framed by angled tree branches that encourage ‘peeking’ into the interior while setting the scene for the ‘organic’ interior.

“Nature was the inspiration for this design. We designed an atypical floor plan that focuses on movement rather than symmetry,” says AD&V principal Ricardo Alvarez-Diaz. “We want shoppers to create their own unique experiences, rather like moving through the woods.”

With nearly 50,000 sq ft of retail space over two floors the store allows considerable scope for exploration. The layout offers multiple vantage points for customers as they flow through the space.

Brands are gently distinguished from one another with contrasting colour schemes while still presenting a unified environment by using original ceiling fittings and fixtures.

AD&V has recently announced the opening of a new office in Coral Gables, Florida, to allow further expansion into the US, Latin America and the Middle East.