Design Merchants Study Tour: Seattle
To start the Seattle leg, as it was a Sunday, we had a few fun excursions. This included a tour of Boeing, that was mind blowing, and a visit to a premium shopping outlet. I think it has to be a record for some of the fastest shopping I have ever seen by many in the group!
A highlight of that day was a visit to the REI flagship store. This is an outdoor/ camping/ adventure store on steroids! They excelled in creating interactive areas for customers to try out their products such as a rock-climbing wall and a climbing slope to try out your hiking boots. Although the inside was very strongly merchandised it was the entry before you got to the front door that blew me away. It was a lush forest setting in the middle of Seattle where you walked through areas that customers were encouraged to ride their bikes through or walk around before you got to the shop level.
We had some really interesting conferencing sessions including presentations by Nordstrom Labs, Hointner and Costco. A highlight of these were several sessions at Microsoft, including at their HQ where we had a fascinating tour of their Envisioning Centre. This was Microsoft looking into how we might be living and working with technology in years to come. Even on a purely interior design level it was stunning.
Of course there was also time to check out many of the shops in the CBD area where there was some great VM and stops for refreshments (see ginger beer photo below). I will definitely put Seattle on my list of places to go back to, really chilled out but fun and vibrant. Next stop Stockholm!!
Pike Place Markets
Pike Place Fish Co. (Where they throw the fish)
Room & Board, University Village
REI, one of the signs in the area in front of the store.
REI, climbing slope to test grip on hiking boots.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer