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How SHH Gave the Marchant Antique Store a New Identity

SHH's task was to give the S Marchant & Son Antique Store (that hadn't been refurbished in 20 years) a more contemporary look, to refresh the company branding and to rationalize the building’s space plan, thereby increasing the display / gallery area.

The S Marchant & Son dealership, who are specialists in Chinese ceramics and artworks, is a family business dating back to 1925, which has been managed in by three generations of the same family, with father and son team Richard and Stuart Marchant currently running the company.

"We were asked to create a scheme that was contemporary, but with a classic and timeless air", commented Creative Director Neil Hogan, "so that it could easily last another 20 years without looking dated. It was also important to maximise gallery space and indeed, thanks to our new space-plan, we have increased gallery space overall by 20%."

ReBranding
The store was re-branded simply as Marchant by the SHH graphics team, as a more concise version of the S Marchant & Son branding previously used. The new identity was inspired by the importance of jade in Chinese artworks and plays off the two shades of classic green and "white" jade (which is in fact a lighter shade of green). The new branding is set out in green powder-coated aluminium lettering, toplit and set against a paler green background. A hanging sign uses the new branding pattern icon.

Logo
A pattern was developed around the logo, also in green, tying in with an Asian pattern used for the interior fretwork walls surrounding the store’s staircase. At the centre of the patterned square is the BADA (British Antique Dealers Association) marque, showing that Marchant is a certified dealer. Marchant has always been very involved in BADA and sought permission to integrate the marque, which would otherwise have been added to the side of the logo.

Below the square sits the Marchant name in a Gotham script, with the strap line "Chinese ceramics and works of art" in both English and Chinese. The scope of the branding works included 2D applications (a full stationery range) and 3D applications to the store fascia. In front of each display window is a metal planter, with site-specific displays created by The Window Box Company.

Interior
For the interior, the design team was instructed to pay particular attention to functionality, as the existing store had in fact functioned extremely well. Critical to the success of the interior was the ability to display the store’s antiques securely and to best advantage.

Client Stuart Marchant commented: "We are very happy with the new design", adding that the new working environment was "very comfortable and attractive to work in." Mr. Marchant also noted that the new use of the simplified Marchant name for the store linked back to the very beginnings of the business and the company’s original name, as "confirmed by advertisements from the 1930s."

Here are the images of the newly designed store:

About SHH:

SHH is an architects’ practice and interior and branding design consultancy, formed in 1992 by the three principles of the practice: Chairman David Spence, Managing Director Graham Harris and Creative Director Neil Hogan.

With a highly international workforce and portfolio, the company initially made its name in ultra-high-end residential schemes, before extending its expertise to include leisure, workspace and retail schemes. The company’s leisure CV includes McDonald’s breakthrough Oxford Street flagship restaurant, winner of 6 international design awards, Michelin-starred The Greenhouse, Kyoto cuisine favourite Umu and private members club Morton’s, as well as the award-winning Aura Bar.

Retail schemes include Angel’s Fancy Dress store, the globally-applied Evita Peroni accessories store concept and the new-concept Savills scheme. SHH’s work has appeared in leading design and lifestyle publications all over the world, including VOGUE and ELLE DECO in the UK, Artravel and AMC in France, Frame in Holland, Monitor in Russia, DHD in Switzerland, ELLE DECO in India, Habitat in South Africa, Contemporary Home Design in Australia, IDS in Malaysia and Architectural Digest in both France and Russia, with over 90 projects also published in 50 leading book titles worldwide.


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