An­thro­polo­gie: Re­pur­pos­ing in Re­tail

As an in­stal­la­tion artist who works with mostly re­pur­posed ma­te­ri­als in the re­tail sec­tor, I love noth­ing more than sight­ing re­pur­posed ma­te­ri­als and re­use in re­tail stores around the world.

VM&RD - - COLUMN - By Natalie Coul­ter of Belle Fla­neur www.belle­fla­neur.com Natalie Coul­ter Founder, Belle Fla­neur

On a re­cent trip from Syd­ney to New York City, dis­carded ma­te­ri­als sourced from Re­verse Garbage, Aus­tralia's largest cre­ative re­use cen­tre, were trans­ported to the 16th An­nual PAVE Gala event at Cipri­ani Wall Street. It was truly a sight to be­hold. Re­use at its best! Syd­ney’s dis­carded street ban­ners and other ma­te­ri­als sourced from Re­verse Garbage were then swathed across man­nequins and styled with lay­ers of ac­ces­sories made only from dis­carded ob­jects and ev­ery­day ma­te­ri­als that would oth­er­wise have ended in land­fill. The man­nequins were trans­formed into beau­ti­ful works of art by the stu­dents of the Di­ploma of Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing from TAFE Syd­ney In­sti­tute and show­cased as fea­ture dis­play pieces at the re­tail gala event. While in New York City, Belle Fla­neur con­ducted a Sus­tain­abil­ity Tour seek­ing out in­no­va­tive and ex­cit­ing ex­am­ples of re­use and re­pur­pos­ing in the city’s re­tail sec­tor. One of the stand­out stars of the art of re­use amongst New York City's re­tail­ers is An­thro­polo­gie. This Amer­i­can-based re­tailer op­er­ates 175 stores world­wide, five of which are in the New York bor­ough of Man­hat­tan. An­thro­polo­gie are at the fore­front of the push to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity in as­pi­ra­tional re­tail en­vi­ron­ments. The brand features re­pur­posed ma­te­ri­als through­out its stores, from fix­tures and fit­tings through dis­plays and shop pre­sen­ta­tions. The high cal­i­bre work pro­duced by An­thro­polo­gie's vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing team is also recog­nised by the in­dus­try. At the

PAVE Gala, An­thro­polo­gie's Rock­e­feller Cen­ter store was an­nounced as the win­ner of the Gold Award in the an­nual Win­ning Win­dows Man­hat­tan hol­i­day re­tail win­dow com­pe­ti­tion. An­thro­polo­gie of­fer their cus­tomers the ul­ti­mate in im­mer­sive shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences. It is a feast for the senses, en­tic­ing its au­di­ence through the doors with orig­i­nal vi­su­als which bring to life the brand's pas­sion for the art of re­pur­pos­ing and adap­tive re­use in re­tail. The finely-crafted el­e­ments and sculp­tural pieces that make up the An­thro­polo­gie ex­pe­ri­ence trans­port the shop­per to an­other world. As tempt­ing as the stock on the floor is to buy, it is the cap­ti­vat­ing vis­ual magic An­thro­polo­gie cre­ates that makes it im­pos­si­ble for the cus­tomer to leave with­out tak­ing home a piece of that shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. As vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ers, it is the in­spir­ing use of ma­te­ri­als in their store pre­sen­ta­tions that most piques our in­ter­est.

As de­scribed by Belle Fla­neur col­lab­o­ra­tor

Joshua Lun­ney “Bring­ing back the art of craft, An­thro­polo­gie is con­stantly find­ing new uses for ev­ery­day things. They leave no cor­ner of the store un­touched, ev­ery turn of the head re­veals a new vis­ual mas­ter­piece”.

From a VM point of view, em­brac­ing the cre­ative spirit and of­fer­ing a plat­form for artis­tic tal­ent to flour­ish is how An­thro­polo­gie dif­fer­en­ti­ates it­self from other re­tail­ers. Each store of­fers its VM team a work room/art stu­dio within the store. The An­thro­polo­gie team told Belle Fla­neur that th­ese spa­ces are where the VM team can con­ceive and con­struct the hand­crafted props and cu­riosi­ties that are cu­rated through­out each store. The key to An­thro­polo­gie’s success story is their abil­ity to con­nect with their cus­tomer and be an au­then­tic part of the com­mu­ni­ties in which they re­side. The An­thro­polo­gie VM teams also col­lab­o­rate with other artists on mean­ing­ful, themed bod­ies of work that cel­e­brate com­mu­nity driven events and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness cam­paigns. We were drawn to a par­tic­u­larly stun­ning oceanic-themed work in the win­dows of the San Fran­cisco lo­ca­tion that show­cased the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween An­thro­polo­gie and the Wy­land Foun­da­tion—a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion de­voted to pro­tect­ing marine life. This con­cept, a na­tional cam­paign for Earth Month 2012, cul­mi­nated in an auc­tion of the works. As well as in­creas­ing com­mu­nity aware­ness of the Wy­land Foun­da­tion, through the auc­tion An­thro­polo­gie raised US$3000 to ben­e­fit the foun­da­tion’s work.

An­thro­polo­gie de­scribes it­self as ”an es­cape from the ev­ery­day... a source of in­spi­ra­tion and de­light, where in­no­va­tive mer­chan­dis­ing, cus­tomer cen­tric­ity and a cu­rated ar­ray of prod­ucts come to­gether to cre­ate an unimag­ined ex­pe­ri­ence”. It is this ded­i­ca­tion to cre­at­ing an un­par­al­leled shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, along with their com­mit­ment to re­pur­pos­ing and re­use, that make An­thro­polo­gie's work truly some­thing to be cel­e­brated. Fea­tured are some unique ex­am­ples ob­served by us on our sus­tain­abil­ity tour within the An­thro­polo­gie stores in NYC. 1) A clus­ter of dis­carded ce­ramic din­ner plates colour washed with blue and gold paint dis­played en masse, on the stair­well wall at the Flat Iron store lo­ca­tion. 2) A fea­ture wall of stacked preloved books at the en­trance to the Rock­e­feller Cen­ter store. 3) Li­brary stands re­pur­posed as store fix­tures to dis­play the ex­pan­sive se­lec­tion of door han­dles and fur­ni­ture knobs sold in ev­ery An­thro­polo­gie store. 4) Marine life pro­tec­tion win­dows in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Wy­land Foun­da­tion. 5) Belle Fla­neur and Re­verse Garbage col­lab­o­ra­tion at PAVE Gala 2012 NYC, crafted and styled by stu­dents of the Di­ploma of Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing from TAFE Syd­ney In­sti­tute

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