Iittala has taken steady steps towards international growth, with a strong focus on Europe & Asia and the recent announcement of the Iittala and Issey Miyake Home Collection launched in February 2016. Altogether, Iittala has more than 200 stores and shop in shops internationally. The brand plans to increase the retail network in the coming years in all key markets, in APAC area and in Europe. The latest growth steps are the new Iittala shop in NK department store in Stockholm as well as the design department store Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen. Iittala has also recently opened a branded store in Helsinki airport in March.

NK Stockholm
The shop at NK is the first to be launched with the new Iittala shop concept highlighting the products in an inspiring environment with strong communication around the brand and its history.



A brand becomes retailer

Retail is becoming steadily more important to DHL. For this reason together with DHL we built their first store in Amsterdam, Van Baerlestraat 114. We helped them with 3 important aspects:

1.    Advice about brand experience. The store concept developed by us is derived from an earlier design for DHL Service Centres in Eindhoven, Apeldoorn and Utrecht. With advice about colour use, sort of flooring, signage and for example a lighting plan developed by a light architect it is immediately clear to anyone standing at the shop window that it is a DHL store. A store that shines with quality and a welcoming feel.

2.    Advice about the store organization. Consumers can be led through a store and during the ‘journey’ can be stimulated to learn or buy more. We have filled out this journey by creating a yellow path that leads past all the different store parts. First, brand experience, then functionality such as a packaging area followed by a counter where a parcel can be handed in or collected.

3.    Practical realization. Which floor can cope well with trolleys? What permission is needed for advertising on the façade? And how big must the coffee counter be without creating a standing-in-the-way situation? We developed the store within 6 weeks – from the removal of the floor to rebuilding the toilet. Practical solutions have also been considered such as banners in place of proper walls by the video screen and the display cases. With new actions or eg, sponsored events the visual can be changed quickly and simply.



Two legendary brands, Wrangler and Leatherman, have joined forces in celebration of some of their most iconic products: Wrangler TEXAS and GREENSBORO and a limited edition Leatherman Piranha 2 tool. To highlight these products on the shop floor Tchai has created 100 counter displays. Information about both Wrangler and Leatherman can be seen on the small TV screen attached to the display.



Tchai has developed a cool exhibition stand for Gaastra, with a number of different units, for their ‘re-invention’ strategy for their 2016 collection. We have placed a number of style icons from Gaastra literally in the spotlight with these stylish units.

The stand was a huge success at both WeAr Select in London and Modefabriek in Amsterdam in January 2016.



The yellow delivery vans with red letters, you see them everywhere. DHL Express delivers fast and offers a courier service in 220 countries and has earned the right to call itself a world player. But whoever thinks it’s only about deliveries is mistaken. ‘’ Every day we are connecting people with each other,’ says Hein Roovers, Marketing Director at DHL Express. “ A good reception in our Service Centres is crucial. Therefore, we have chosen a completely new shop concept’.

DHL has 10 Service Centers in The Netherlands. The Service Centres serve as an operating base for the couriers who are collecting and delivering to companies and people at home. People also come directly to the Service Centers to collect and send parcels. Speed, reliability and a high quality service are vital. ‘We wanted to give you the impression that you are not ‘waiting’, says Roovers. ‘Because waiting isn’t pleasant but feeling welcome is’. Therefore, in our new Service Centers you can get a good cup of coffee, check your mail or wrap a parcel. Recently we opened Service Centre Eindhoven as the first purpose built location with the new concept. One by one the other Service Centers will be completed.’ Besides this we are also opening completely new Service Centers with accompanying shops, shortly to be seen in Utrecht. And next year in the brand new Rithmeesterpark in Breda.

Tchai’s shop concept
DHL Express is a market leader. An old fashioned counter behind glass in an empty shed just doesn’t fit. The experience and feel, that’s what it’s all about. Via a pitch from advertising agency Goud Activatie DHL came into contact with Tchai from Ridderkerk. Tchai was bursting with ideas and took on the challenge to create a warm and client friendly shop experience. ‘We developed a shop concept that carries people into the world of logistics’, says Helen Maessen, Account Manager for Tchai. ‘A concept that shows the DNA of DHL in a clear and creative way. Therefore, we submerged ourselves in the company. How can we give someone a look into the kitchen at DHL Express? How can we be sure that visitors feel welcome in every corner of the DHL shop? The new concept fits with DHL’s ambition; to contribute to a simpler, more pleasant and more successful way of life for people. This led to an open design where both visitor and assistant can spend their time. Imagine a place to charge your phone, somewhere to print a label or a comfortable corner to sit in’.

Complete customer experience
In under two months the shop in Eindhoven was ready for opening. In no time at all Tchai had finished the plans and had realized the shop concept from production to installation. ‘The people from Tchai literally made an empty 30m2 space into a customer experience with a DHL – feel’, says Roover. ‘The shop concept works from A to Z. From the yellow express line on the floor that helps customers find their way, to the wall behind the counter that has a life size image of the cargo bay of an airliner. The parcel that you drop off appears to roll straight into a plane via a conveyor belt. You feel that you are in the heart of the logistical world’.



Samsung has long wished to have all its products under one roof in a shop in Mediamarkt. Goal: to let it be seen how all the Samsung products can be integrated with each other in daily life. For the design, production and installation Samsung found its way, via Cheel, to Tchai. We created a real living environment where all facets of Samsung could come together. The starting point was to have the feel of a New York loft. Elements of ‘loft living’ have been integrated into the 200 m2 shop-in-shop and fuse perfectly with the Samsung company style. The warm colours, the wood, steel, lighting and high gloss white finish all work perfectly together. In the shop a ‘living room’, ‘office’, ‘kitchen with laundry’ and a ‘bookshelf wall’ can be found. The shopper can experience and test many of the products themselves. Tchai have given much thought to the details and finish of this project so as to be able to give the best result possible regarding the feel of the shop for Samsung.

The first Samsung ONE shop was opened in October 2015 in Mediamarkt in Eindhoven.



Brandstore or grand store?

Crockery and home accessories to make the mouth water. They know all about it in Finland. And that’s because every Finn has something from the brand Iittala. The timeless objects from Iittala last a lifetime. Glasses, pans and cooking utensils. But also lamps, dishes and home accessories. They deserve a place in every home. Also in The Netherlands. On 15th October Iittala opened a new brand store in Amsterdam following a new Finnish concept.

Design with a goal. Iittala makes mostly objects that are functional for the user. But art is never left out. Colour, form and material. Everything that is there is there for a reason. Iittala is Scandinavian design: beautiful, simple and inspired by nature. The brand is discernable through its craftsmanship and inimitable quality. Time is also a factor. ‘Since 1881 Iittala has believed in timeless design and that will never change’, says David Peters, Retail Operations Manager of Iittala Benelux, ‘We are continually striving to develop new designs that even years later will still appear modern’.

Iittala Amsterdam: more home than store.
Iittala is the market leader in functional design in Finland and Sweden. Brand recognition is 98% there. “Everyone has something from Iittala” says David Peters, Retail Operation Manager of Iittala Benelux. “We want to achieve that also in The Netherlands. To continuously surprise the customer, that’s the idea. Therefore, the new flagship store in Amsterdam. It is the first Iittala store in The Netherlands with the sparkling new Finnish concept. From opening the door you feel as though you are entering a beautiful home rather than a store. With its inviting living room area and a lovely kitchen, all made from ‘real’ materials such as textiles and wood. Our designs fit in perfectly, everything has its own place. And everywhere you can find a link to the outdoors. Look, for example, at the store garden and the ‘Bird-wall’ with glass objects that are individually made from blown glass. Real artisan work”.

Perfect end result.
Iittala found the new location for their brand store in Van Baerlestraat 76. A perfect place in a lovely shopping street, close to the popular Museumplein and the P.C. Hoofdstraat. With the assignment from Iittala and working together with the Finnish concept manager Vesa Liuhanan, retail expert Tchai, from Ridderkerk created a unique shopping experience. Liuhanen found the project and the close co-operation a huge success. ‘On all fronts Tchai has exceeded our expectations. Tchai quickly understood the shop concept and produced further ideas to give the store even more form. The end result is perfect.’

Tchai brought out all the stops
Full of enthusiasm Tchai went to work on the translation of the Finnish shop concept into everything that should be found in a store. “Building a store is not what we do daily and without Tchai it was probably impossible”, says Peters. “Right from the beginning Tchai understood exactly what we had in our heads. Tchai has thought through and coloured in the sketch. With an overwhelming eye for detail. They take all the work out of your hands, from building to the fine details. From permits and staircase replacement to displays and shop design. We wanted to be able to turn the door key and to trust that everything would be finished perfectly. That has more than happened.”

Grand Store
The opening of the brand store in Amsterdam was on 15th October. Peters: ‘We are enormously proud of the end result. Tchai has demonstrated its creativity and flexibility all the way through. The feel and the shop experience, everything together. Call it a brand store; in fact it’s a grand store. It couldn’t be better.’



Unique teamwork with Samsung and Cheel.

This year is exactly one hundred years since the death of the famous Dutch painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Activity bureau ConspiracySinc found this the perfect time to bring art and technological innovation together. Working with Samsung and video artist Menno Otten they have brought the world famous painting 'Panorama Mesdag' into the 21st century. Tchai was given the opportunity to create the experience dome for this painting. Visitors to SAIL, the UITMARKT and ART ZUID await a unique experience.

Subtle movement Panorama Mesdag
The original Panorama Mesdag, with a height of 14.5 meters and a length of 114.5 meters, is the biggest painting in The Netherlands. A true masterpiece showing the lives of fishermen on the beach at Scheveningen - and for many years on display in The Hague. How is it possible to 'modernise' such a large and imposing work without spoiling the unique artwork? Menno Otten signed up immediately. For 6 months he worked with a team of 6 experts to produce 5 versions of the painting. These have been digitally laid over one another, whereby subtle changes and movement in the painting have been created. Slowly 4 seasons can be seen. Day becomes night. All the elements move almost unseen: smoke from a steamship and a gently blowing wind. These nuances are strengthened by surround sound with e.g. the noise of a horse walking slowly by or a dog barking in the distance. The whole 'performance' lasts a total of 6 minutes - and ensures that visitors feel that it is impossible to take in all the subtleties and nuances.

'Moving Mesdag': an old Hollands masterpiece from 1881 digitally reproduced with movement on hypermodern curved TV screens from Samsung'

Reproduction on curved HD- screens
This modern interpretation of the Panorama Mesdag is presented on enormous curved S-UHD TV's from Samsung. A logical choice as Samsung has the goal of making the brand human and to make its technology part of our everyday lives. What better example can the brand give than through their curved screens (they fit perfectly in the 360 degree experience of the Panorama Mesdag) than with this technological high point? In total 14 screens have been used to form a perfect circle with a diameter of 9 meters. Every individual TV is 1 meter high and has a screen diagonal of 2.2 meters. The building of the construction was complicated. And that’s where the expert knowledge of Tchai fits in.

Experience developed through Tchai
Sander Hoekstra, Tchai project manager: Cheel is the permanent advertising partner of Samsung - and for years we have helped with the realisation of many of their projects. From the development of shop-in-shops to complete stores and product presentation: but this project was, for us, the cherry on the cake. We were told that it would be a round digital painting but that the practicalities of the project had not been worked out. We had that to take into account'.

Innovative dome over the painting
In a project such as this the smallest detail has to be considered. How many people can fit inside and thus how big must the 'housing' for the painting be? How will visitors enter and leave? What must they see and experience when they enter, stand by the painting and leave again? Next to this there were dozens of practical problems such as cooling, lighting, construction and dismantling and also, for example, at what height the screens must hang and how the sound units must be mounted to make it the best possible experience. Tchai worked all these aspects into an actual concept. After ideas for, amongst others, an inflatable tent and a cube were dismissed a 'dome' was finally chosen - a dome shaped tent where visitors enter into a darkened space and stand on a podium that is exactly the correct height to feel as if they can step 'into' the painting. 

Sail, Uitmarkt and ART Zuid
Sander: 'Our design studio first visualised the idea in 3D, next we built a trial set-up in our Ridderkerk company so that everything could be tested. From this we decided, for example, to raise the height of the screens and change the lighting and to make the entry and exit more streamlined. And now its showtime! The construction for Sail takes 4 days we then have 3 days to dismantle and rebuild for the Uitmarkt and ART Zuid on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Tough, but a fantastic project that we must give special thanks to Samsung and Cheel for'.



experiencing is believing

An innovative idea, born out of the personal frustration of a clever student. Almost a decade and countless design awards later, the ‘storm umbrella’ has become the successful company: senz°. And the ambition goes further. Scaling up to conquer the international market, but how? Together with retail expert Tchai senz° developed a shop presentation that captures the attention of every shopper. The key to international success?

Besides the fact that the senz° umbrellas are beautifully styled, they are also extremely strong. Where an ordinary umbrella easily turns inside out during a rainy bicycle ride, the storm umbrella withstands wind speeds of up to 100km/h. Thanks to their unique aerodynamic shape the umbrella floats on the wind. “That is exactly what senz°  stands for”, says Philip Hess, co-founder of the company. “We solve everyday problems with smart innovations”. Another example is their latest ‘invention’: the Umbrella Holder. Hess: “Safe and comfortable cycling with an umbrella used to be an illusion. But with this umbrella holder attached to the handle bar, you have two hands free for steering and you arrive at your destination without stress and most importantly, dry”

‘Rain shop’
Although the web shop sales are doing great, regular retail sales have the number one priority. “You must experience our products to realise how special they are” Hess continues. “The shop floor is the right place for this. But how do you attract direct attention from the shopper and convince him to buy your product on the spot”? Together with the help of retail expert Tchai they searched for the answer. The result: a shop in shop concept at De Bijenkorf, that translates the unique characteristics into an irresistible shopping experience. With a bicycle, a wind machine and striking rain visuals with LED lighting, this gives you the feeling that you’ve landed in a storm. Hess: “This ‘rain shop’ simulates exactly the situations where our umbrellas and umbrella holder are at their best. Seeing is believing, they say? No, experiencing is believing!”

Tchai: de perfect partner
senz° found the perfect partner in retail expert Tchai to build this unique shopping experience. “During the search for a suitable instore partner Tchai caught our attention”, according to Hess. “They combine a great dose of creativity with enormous knowhow of shopper marketing. That became clear at the (design) concept proposal. The product advantages, our brand values and the shopping behaviour of the target group….. every detail has been considered. This not only lead to an exciting, but also a well thought through shop in shop design”. Besides the quality and creativity, there was something else that was crucial. “The click between our two companies was immediate”, says Hess. “Their energy and enthusiasm are infectious. They give the feeling: together we are going to build something special”.

From Bijenkorf to Europe
You can admire the ‘rain shops’ at a variety of Bijenkorf locations until September. At this moment? Hess: “the shop in shops are drawing a lot of attention indeed, with huge sales of our umbrellas as a result. And don’t forget: it is still summer. Again we prove that an umbrella is not just a disposable article, but a fashion item that fits a style and outfit”. Is this pilot project then a step towards success abroad and to reaching the mass market there? “By September we will know whether it has been a success or not”, according to Hess. “But as far as I can see at the moment, we will be rolling this concept out through Europe”.



In September 2015 Run2Day re-opened its doors in a completely new store in the Meent in Rotterdam. The retailer, that is specialised in running articles has, together with Nike, restyled and anticipated unique innovations. Run2Day is running for the consumer of the future. 

Successful specialist store for runners
Run2Day, with its 25 stores and around 26.000 facebook followers, is one of the fastest growing specialist stores for runners in The Netherlands. Eric Brommert is owner of the store that has stood in the Meent for more than 12 years. No matter how good business is, it doesn’t make him blind to the future. He says “consumer behaviour is changing. As a real specialist business we must take care to show our distinctive features and our own identity to the client. The consumer must continue to take the trouble to find us. For this reason I have asked Maradona Creative Agency to think with me for a concept that both my usual customers and new customers will find attractive. The choice for Maradona was nothing more than logical. The owner of this bureau is, just like us, an enthusiastic runner. Together with them we have set up the Rotterdam Running Crew – now the largest running crew in Europe”. 

The specialist store is again special
Sander van Baalen, co-owner of Maradona Creative Agency: “The distinctive possibilities for retailers lies in three groups: people, product and experience. Run2Day offers both of the first two. The products are top quality and are often not available elsewhere. The people factor is also catered for with a variety of sales personnel who are all runners themselves. In some cases ex professionals. The one distinctive factor that remains is experience. People want to see, feel and test the products. Look at the success of fashion house Abercrombie & Fitch, with dimmed lighting and muscled half clothed young man in the shop. And Rapha, the cycling store with its own team of ‘Rapha Runners’, filmed touring all over the world. The internet can’t offer that, nor can large shopping chains that are set up to offer efficiency, standardisation and endless space. Running has, besides being performance directed, become a lifestyle form. We wanted that to be clear in the new Run2Day concept. We wanted to give clients the feeling that they have entered a truly specialist sports shop.

What makes Run2Day special?
The project took 18 months before ‘the ultimate running store’ opened. A runners shop where every square meter has been considered as to the running experience. 

Brand perception
A display from Nike, posters from Adidas, a clothes rack from Odlo….. there were many different point of sales materials in the shop that failed to draw positive attention. In the new sports shop, brand campaigns can be seen on video walls. This gives visual calm and ensures that the brand campaigns are more eye cathing. A second video wall can be used to send out (local) sports events.

Shop experience
The runner in Rotterdam sees many surfaces under their feet as they run. For this reason brick, concrete and asphalt have been worked into the shop floor. A timeline runs from beginning to end along the walls of the shop showing the history of a variety of runners brands, running in Rotterdam and local running heroes.

Never a no-sale
Not all products from every brand, from every collection can always be in stock. Shortly it will be possible for every sales person to order any pair of shoes via the order service that they usually use for their own stock management. In the very near future all possible sports shoes will be delivered within 24 hours. No client will be disappointed – or leave the shop without buying.

Local influences
Clients always happily return if a shop is ‘their’ shop. In this instance: Real Rotterdam. For this reason many typically Rotterdam influences can be found in the store. The well-known white and green tiles from the Maastunnel are for example used as well as the clothes racks and even a shop window in the recognisable 1950’s Dudok-style. The whole development team was also from Rotterdam – from the concept maker, to the furniture makers and electrician and plumber. Because everyone, from the beginning, had the same no-nonsense “roll your sleeves up” approach the build went smoothly and the result is almost more Rotterdam than De Kuip.

Customer journey
The journey that the client makes through the shop has received special attention. What is their first impression? And the last? On this basis the shop has been strategically divided up. The screen that analysis’ the running posture has been given a prominent place in the store. There is a footwear wall, racks with clothing and also a display with special watches for running. At first the watches were behind the cashier, but they can now be picked up and tested as they have been fastened to the display. The ipads that are fixed into the display give information over the watches. In the same way sport food is given the same attention. This is presented in a conventionally arranged ‘Maastunnel style’ tiled cupboard by the cashier that strengthens the accessibility of the food assortment. 

Working with Nike
Conspicuous in the new Run2Day shop is that Nike has been involved in the development. Nike is one of the biggest sports brands in the world and has its own brand shops in every city imaginable. Why then this working together with a branch from a relatively small shop chain? A multi brand store that sells not only Nike products but also other A brands? The answer is simple. Nike also wants to stay within the specialist branch, separate from the more general sporting goods stores – and to stay in the minds of serious runners. Nike wants to remain number 1 as the A-runners brand. For this reason the company decided to release a budget for the realisation of the plans for the Run2Day shop.

No concessions
Through the support of Nike it was unnecessary for the concept and shop builders to make any concessions. A unique event in the retail world. Nike also gave Eric from Run2Day a virtually free hand in the development. Therefore, he was able to choose Brinkworth Design from London, a retail designers with more than a quarter of a century of experience in retail concepts and customer journeys, to translate the concepts that Maradona with Run2Day had developed into an actual shop interior. Via Nike Eric came into contact with Tchai from Ridderkerk. Tchai has used the Brinkworth designs, to build displays – which at times was challenging. For example the functional wishes of Run2Day for the clothing racks had to be combined with the ‘Dudok style’ of the architect and concept developers. Also the retro aspects of the 1950 Maastunnel benches were the work for craftsmen.

Design to the last detail
Jamel Deijkers, project manager from Tchai: “We are specialist in instore communication and are aware, through many years of experience, exactly what the consumer wants. How they experience the interior and how the products must be presented to give them full justice. Because we have both inhouse designers and engineers we can take the designs from Brinkworth and transform them into the displays that Run2Day requires. Firstly, we made prototypes so that all displays could be tested for functionality, appearance and quality. Through the prototypes the design came to live and final choices could be made. We choose, for example, for more solid clothing racks, to give a more robust appearance. After the final choices were made we began production and super-fast installation where we ensured that every detail was perfect. We know Nike and Run2Day as companies that make no concessions – and luckily that was brought out in this project”. 

The future
The Rotterdam Run2Day branch of Eric Brommert is a blue print for other shops in the shopping chain, where, in every city their own influences can be worked. Alongside this Run2Day has the ambition to further develop its services. The goal is to save running analysis and to use them to inform clients if their shoes should be changed or if a new model comes out. Above this the branch wants to use similar data to give information to manufacturers over clients wishes. This way the connection between the client and the manufacturer increases. A concept perhaps that other retailers could learn from?



In a different country each year, and over several days, GIC members present their best projects of their year's work. In an industry known for creative secrecy, this unique exchange was recently hosted in Turkey, Izmir, hometown of Alvisual, a company which became member of the organisation in 2008. The current President, Deniz Güvenen, won the record for being the youngest president of GIC since its 45 years history.

The meetings were held at Swiss Hotel, Izmir. Member companies from 16 various countries attended business meetings during 4 days; and visited popular areas as Alacati, Ephesus, and Urla in the evenings after daily meetings were over. The Gala Night of 2015 was organized by Güvenen family with traditional Turkish cuisine and entertainments.