1 Martin Place, Sydney is at the heart of the city’s commercial, cultural and retail areas; whether it’s the financial hubs, neighbouring café society or high-end fashion labels along George Street. A veritable coming together of metropolitan life is found along this pedestrianised urban stretch. There’s very little ‘down-time’ here. The office workers scurry from one meeting to another, the holidaymakers and happy snappers soak up the historic grandeur of the architectural context, and the bicycle couriers congregate on the building’s steps awaiting their next job. Martin Place is the ebb and flow of Sydney – a constant flux of people and information.
Rotate will live up to its name, changing its stock and theme every eight weeks.
How apt it is then that The Cool Hunter – one of the world’s most well-read design blog platforms with over two million monthly readers – has decided to take up residence here. Bill Tikos, The Cool Hunter blogger extraordinaire, has installed a wholly new retail experience, in keeping with its socio-cultural context: Rotate, a pop-up store that alternates its stock and theme every eight weeks. The store, in situ from 28 November 2013 to 28 February 2014, should no doubt be discovered during the festive period and into the New Year. Where else could you find a tiger’s face imprint swimming costume and chevron tableware in the same store?
The perfect way to keep a corner of the pool to yourself this summer…
To specifically theme your brand, fluctuating in a cycle and overhauling the entire store and retail content, is a novel concept and a tall order. AR attempts a similar line of enquiry through its theming of each issue as it showcases the latest and greatest in the architectural field – The Cool Hunter is similarly positioning itself. To grab people’s attention in a retail environment that depends heavily on immediacy, constant change and a reliance on social media is paramount for survival and, ultimately, the ability to turn a profit in relatively economic austerity. Rotate will flip the “entire store – the entire theme, the displays and the products”. The focus remains the same throughout though: to showcase the best local brands alongside unique international products.
An alternative to the same old colours and brands.
“Today’s consumer demands more from retailers. Shoppers are bored of seeing the same products, the same shopping malls, the same brands and the same colours. They want to be excited, surprised and wowed. They want a reason to love you,” says Tikos.
“Customers need to be inspired, excited and delighted. They are looking for something new, something worth their while. In order to feel engaged and to spend money and to want to come back, consumers need something more than the same boring stores. Unless they are buying everyday staples, consumers are looking for something that feels unique and different. That is the future of retail,” he says.
Rotate intensifies the idea of having to purchase ‘on the spot’.
Tiklos, however, does not profess to dictate what is ‘cool’, but rather in curating an ‘ever changing idea of what is cool’, the blogger can intersperse precedents from across countries, brands, events and people. It is globalised flexibility and an almost open-source manifesto whereby a select band of designers can promote their individual style or their product creations. The store challenges the existing retail order to become even more immediate. It intensifies the idea of having to purchase ‘on the spot’ rather than wait for tomorrow. It relies on ideas of exclusivity, limited supply, impulse buying and hashtag euphoria of ‘selfies’. It becomes the definition of contemporary social flux, with the immediacy of a tweet or Snapchat, The Cool Hunter has blended retail and social interaction.
Address: Shop 2, 1 Martin Place, between Pitt & George Streets Sydney 2000
Dates: 29 November to 28 February 2014
Open: Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu 10am-8pm, Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm