Design of a new luxury store concept for the Royally appointed Omani perfume house, Amouage
Luxury perfumery brand ‘Amouage’ is owned by the Omani Royal family and celebrates the 25th anniversary of its founding this year. The perfume house set out ambitious plans to grow the brand globally and appointed JHP to design a new store concept to position itself as the first ‘International Arabic luxury’ brand. Inspired by the mystique of the ancient silk and spice routes, the idea was that the store should represent a form of modern ‘Omani chic’ that travels well internationally and gives them scope to execute their brand extension strategy.
JHP embarked on a mission to understand the local market and factors that would influence the store concept. Of particular importance was to understand the perfume making process. Many mass-market perfumes are not much more than ‘scented water’. Amouage’s products are derived from nature and developed using the world’s best ‘noses’, as they are known in the trade. Attars (essential essences) retail at around UK£500 per 5ml. Oman’s natural sources of perfume ingredients – frankincense and specialist flowers, are abundant and play a key part in the country’s reputation for perfume manufacture. Fragrance for the body and for one’s home plays a major part in Omani traditions, leading to the store to be divided into different rooms to suit each product category. JHP set about designing a store concept that was a delicate blend of Arabian heritage, and modern simplicity. The store opened in Muscat, the Riviera of the Middle East, in April 2008, Amouage’s product range consists of exclusive perfumes, body and bath products, attars, candles, frankincense and ‘oud’ woods to fragrance the home. The off-the-shelf merchandise is supplemented by consultation areas where expert staff create highly personalised perfumes for customers in-store. The payment process evokes the feeling of a five star hotel as the customer’s bank-card is whisked away to a separate room for transactions and to gift wrap the products. Provision of a V.I.P area behind 4 metre high solid carved ash wooden doors was integrated into the store design, to allow for any eminent customers to shop privately. The impressive entrance hall tower at 7 metres is crowned by a suspended large antique Arabian chandelier and features a gold pained A1 frame portrait size image of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The store environment exudes luxury throughout. Flooring consists of premium first cut Crema Marfil marble, adorned with luxury Arabian carpets. Throughout the store there is gold plated polished brass, murano glass mosaic tiles, hand carved Amouage jacquard pattern panels, light gold shimmering back panels, and clear glass shelving,
The store concept is truly a unique retail experience, reminiscent of a modern Omani home of a sophisticated, international traveler. The store environment has been described by the local press as “warmly welcoming the customer in the true Arabian tradition”. The success of the first store has led to JHP also creating Amouage shop-in-shop concepts that are set to be rolled out in selected luxury international department stores, as well as another luxury boutique in Muscat which will be ready in June. The first standalone store outside Oman will open later in the year in Dubai, followed by further stores around the world and shop in shops, all in line with the brand’s internationalisation strategy.
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