17th April 2014

Zielony Park Handlowy to be revitalized by Air

Air has been recently appointed to create new branding, signage and 3D elements for Zielony Park Handlowy, a 25,000 GLA scheme located on Glebocka Street, Targowek in Warsaw. It is targeted at families and local people, with a predominantly discount/convenience/household offer comprising:

•  8 units (including Castorama and Saturn, to potentially be split into 15)

•  Parking for 720 cars

•  Extensive green areas, wildlife and a stream

The land surrounding the scheme is set to change with the development of new apartments and potentially a new metro station further down the line. It is well located beside Atrium Targowek, and only a short distance from IKEA and M1, which serve to generate significant footfall.

The objective of the new branding and signage is first of all to build a strong and consistent identity for the scheme. Revitalisation of the asset and improving its visibility through impactful signage will also help with leasing the empty units.


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20th March 2014

Planeta Novokuzvetsk is getting new brand


Air has been appointed by RosEvro Development, one of the leading commercial real estate developers in Russia, to create a new brand for their scheme in Novokuznetsk. The scheme is now being constructed and is planned to open at the end of 2014.

Previously all Planeta shopping centres were branded the same way but it’s been decided to change the approach to this development.

The mall will comprise one parking and three retail levels and will involve more than 100 retailers. It is planned that the centre will set up a new quality level for retail in Novokuznetsk by bringing new concepts, paying great attention to interior and exterior design, signage and services.

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18th March 2014

New signage for Woodberry Park, London

Woodberry Park_Berkeley Homes2

Leading residential developer Berkeley Homes has recently appointed Air to develop a new strategy and design for the wayfinding system for their new regeneration project in London – Woodberry Park. The site spans 26 hectares and will see 4,600 new homes created around a reservoir and landscaped gardens. The development is phased and will be completed by 2031.

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12th March 2014

10 bookstores we love the most

As we work on international projects we thought we would feature our top ten book stores from London, Paris and Moscow. If you’re in those cities at any time, check them out.

Let’s start with London as it is where our main office is based and most of our suggestions on stores are based there:

1.    Artwords Bookshop in Shoreditch (artwords.co.uk)

Artwords - Nick Ballon

65A Rivington Street, 

Open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am to 7pm.

The shop is famous for its stock of contemporary fine art books but you’ll also find interesting items on architecture, photography, fashion, graphic design as well as industry and creative magazines and DVDs. The titles come not only from UK but also Australia, North America and Europe.


2.    Foyles (foyles.co.uk)


113-119 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0EB

Open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 9pm; Sundays from 12pm to 6pm

The store occupies five floors and has a great selection of books on fashion, architecture and interiors including ones on retail and shopping centres.


3.    Magma (magmabooks.com)

Magma bookshop

8 Earlham Street
, Covent Garden, 
London WC2H 9RY

Open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm; Sundays from 12pm to 6pm

This is a small store that offers interesting titles on branding and design. They have a good selection of books for children as well as art and fashion magazines. Check out their product shop further down the street (16 Earlham Street).


4.    Koenig Books (koenigbooks.co.uk)

Koenig books

80 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0BB

Open Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm; Thursdays from 10am to 9pm; Sundays from 12pm to 6pm

This shop is conveniently located close to Leicester Square underground station. Their wide offer is spread across two floors where one is dedicated to discounted titles only. Go there for books on advertising, art as well as patterns and prints.


5.    Waterstones (waterstones.com)

Waterstones Picadilly

203/206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD

Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 10pm; Sundays from 11.30am to 6pm.

Just two minutes from Piccadilly Circus station and you are in heaven with six floors full of great books. Each floor is dedicated to certain categories so it is easy to navigate. Chairs and tables are conveniently placed so you can flip through a book before you decide to purchase. The staff are also helpful. Check out the café on the top floor for a warming cappuccino.


6.    Tate Modern (shop.tate.org.uk/shop/books/icat/books)


Bankside, London SE1 9TG

Open Sunday to Thursday from 10am to 6pm; Friday to Saturday from 10am to 10pm

The store offers the widest range of books on modern art and culture in the UK. You can also purchase fantastic books for children, stunning handcrafted jewelry and art materials.


7.    Design Museum (designmuseum.org)


28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

Open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 5.45pm

If you are looking for unusual souvenirs and books, visit this store and museum. Many items are inspired by exhibitions held in the museum itself.


8.    Respublica (respublica.ru)

Respublica Moscow

1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya, 10, Moscow

Open 24/7

This is definitely the most innovative concept of a bookstore in Moscow. It shares its premise with Starbucks so you can get both book and coffee. The store’s displays are creative and clever and the choice of books is focused mainly on art, design and business.


9.    Moscow (moscowbooks.ru)

Moscow bookstore

Vozdvizhenka str 4/7, bld 1, Moscow

Open 24/7

Probably the oldest and thus most well-known chain of bookstores in Moscow. It is a bit old-fashioned but you can find books on many different topics and languages.


10. Artazart in Paris (artazart.com)

Artazart books

83, quai de Valmy 75010 Paris

Open Monday to Thursday from 10.30am to 7.30pm; Fridays from 11am to 7.30pm; Sundays and holidays from 2pm to 8pm

This recommendation comes from Pierre Godin, our Paris-based architecture director. This is his favourite place to buy books on architecture and interior design.

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6th March 2014

9 months until the opening – Branding


As many centers plan their opening for November – December we’re now 9 months away from the grand event. Hopefully everything is sorted and you know your scheme’s name and have logo, brand manual, signage and interiors in place. But what to do if it’s not organized or you are not completely happy with it? As branding consultants each year we are approached by at least 3-4 malls that are due to open in a few months and who are struggling to put all of the above together. So we’ve decided to create this little checklist on branding for you. The one on signage is coming on March 24 so don’t forget to check back to our blog then. Personally I’ve been in similar situation 3 times throughout my career as marketing manager for shopping malls. Wish I had similar plan in hand then…

Please note that below timing is based on the assumption that decisions are made quickly and are final. Any changes tend to prolong the process.

So what should you do:

9 months until the opening:

-       Unless you have preferred branding consultant, the tender has to be organized. Plan at least 1-2 weeks for that. Advice – do not do free creative pitches. We will soon publish a separate post on this; so just a little note here that it’s a waste of your and the agencies time, which often produces very questionable results. Instead, invest your resources in deep research to find the right tender participants – study their portfolios and experience. Call a few of their clients and get references. You need to make sure that you’ll feel comfortable working with these people in a what is often a tough time schedule, so home-work is very important. Once you have your short-list of agencies, go and set up a meeting with each to brief them in detail to make sure their proposals will be relevant to your needs, rather than have them guess what they think you might need. It will again save you time on analyzing and making that final decision – you’ll compare experience, approach and prices against a similar scope.

-       Once the shopping centre branding agency is approved, plan 1-2 weeks for contract discussions and signing. Make sure it is clear what each party is suppose to do and what has to be delivered.


8 months until the opening:

-       Brands that are created based upon proper research and a strong strategy are usually much stronger as they have the correct analysis and a clear idea behind them. A brand is much more than just a logo. So give your branding agency time and resources to study your shopping centre, its tenant mix and future customers. Your cooperation and readiness to participate in the whole branding process plays crucial role as you become a part of creative team and your knowledge of the project (its strengths and its history etc) helps along the way. We once had 4 hour meeting, which helped us to create a great brand for Tay Gallery in Saratov, Russia. The client had dedicated his time to share stories and insights and took part in every stage of the process. They’re now implementing it during the leasing process and they truly live it and its values. Brand strategy forms the basis for all future work, so it had better be done well. Plan a minimum of 2 weeks for this.

-       Shopping mall naming is a tricky and one of the hardest tasks we face as branding consultants. At this stage a detailed brief is of great importance. We have faced situations when, after months of  work in vain on name generation, the client then has created his own option which had absolutely nothing to do with initial brief. Give your agency a week to come up with first ideas and then discuss in detail. Be part of that process. At the end of the day, you are the one that has to live with it so make sure you are part of the team. A great exercise is to run a naming workshop with agency, client and other key stakeholders. Be part of the process!


7 months until the opening:

-       Once you have brand strategy and name, it is time to get your creative concepts. Normally an agency will give you 3-5 concepts. It is enough to provide you with ideas for consideration. Do not go for too many as you’ll make your own decision process harder and dilute the agency’s focus. This bit will take up to 3 weeks.


6 months until the opening:

-       After your concept (or combination of concepts) is confirmed, the agency will need to put it all together to show you the final version. Make sure you brief the agency to show you how the brand will work in enough media applications for you to understand how it will come alive. Give it another 2-3 weeks.


5 months until the opening:

-       Now it is time for brand guidelines. It’s a very important document if used wisely. It will save you stress, time and money in future. A proper shopping centre set of brand guidelines will include brand strategy pieces along with logo variations, fonts and colours specifications, style of imagery, examples and rules for various applications – billboard, city light, shopping bag, website, brochure, etc. You can put as many items as you want, even going as far as suggesting navigation and the brand’s expression within an environment and throughout the interior design. However, I would advise you discuss this with agency first. This will also be a good exercise to help you plan your future marketing activities – what are your going to need? Just remember that brand guidelines are just that, guidelines, not rules. A brand is alive and will evolve and change with time. There is no designer or even marketing manager who can predict and create rules for every single opportunity the shopping center will face.


4 months until the opening:

-       So you have the basis now. The fun part starts here. Advertising for grand opening. You will have to sit down with agency (or even a few if you have different contractors for advertising and events) and brainstorm various ideas for launch. The more collaborative you are the more interesting and creative the process approach will be. Just imagine how many ideas can be generated by team of creative people from different fields (developer, event agency, advertising agency, branding consultants) involved in the process vs one or two from agency side. It will also save you time on considering ideas that may not work due to various reasons – limitations of place, culture differences, finances, logistics etc. Once the idea for the event is chosen and approved, designers can start putting options for shopping centre advertising together. It is where brand guidelines will help to make sure that all materials support the brand and tell consistent story. Don’t forget to allocate a budget for the purchase of images, as these are often excluded from agency fees. It will help to avoid unnecessary stress once you face this issue. Just plan in advance.

-       Don’t forget about the shopping mall website as nowadays this is one of the most important promotion tools. You still have enough time to design and launch it before the opening. Before approaching designers/programmers just make sure you understand what your content will be and how this will be supported from the client side. There are many detailed and complicated shopping mall websites where a specially dedicated team is working full-time. But there are others that keep it simple and easy-to-use by providing only the most necessary information. Choose your path and act accordingly. This influences both your time schedule and your budget as well. I would even suggest you start with a simplified version and add things on based on your customers and their feedback. This will help you to create a truly customer-centric tool of communication for your shopping centre.


3 months until the opening:

-       Hopefully website works are going well and on schedule.

-       What’s on the advertising side? Concepts were prepared and presented and in ideal world you’ve chosen one to develop further. A little advice on this – give people a clear message – what is it, when is it happening and where. Draw the viewer in with an exciting image and message and then tell them how to act.


2 months until the opening:

-       Designers are finishing up the artwork for your shopping centre advertising and sending it for colour proofing and then eventually to print. This is the time when every little change in the file can cost you more than ever before. Reason – each file of good quality is very big/heavy so it takes a lot of time to simply open and make even tiny change. I highly recommend to approve all the images and text before the final version is in work to avoid extra expenses.


1 month until the opening:

-       Advertising is up and running. At this stage you can focus on the grand opening, your event and your tenants.


Opening and ongoing:

-       Branding is not a stage of work but a process. It involves much more than logos or bright images. Keeping your shopping center at front-of-mind for your customers is a constant work in our competitive world. Creating a welcoming atmosphere, providing positive experiences, giving your customers more opportunities to smile and relax in your shopping centre will make it stand out. Involve your tenants and make them ambassadors of your brand – they’re meeting your clients every day. Add, change, evolve your shopping centre brand and this investment will definitely pay back dividends.

Good luck!

By Helen Rozanova

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PROJECT IN PROFILE: Galereja Novosibirsk

Air was asked to develop a brand identity for a new mall in Novosibirsk, Russia that fits in with the dramatic and contemporary architecture of the new retail development. This included the brand strategy, logo development, overall look and feel and brand book.

A detailed brand strategy was developed with the story of ‘retail theatre’ at its heart. Vibrant colours were used to create a sophisticated yet fun identity for the mall. The ‘smiling loop’ symbol also reflecting elements of the internal mall architecture.

The resulting brand identity was received well by TPS Nedvizhimost and has played an instrumental role in a successful leasing campaign.

Galereja Novosibirsk logo

Galereja Novosibirsk website

Galereja Novosibirsk bag


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3rd March 2014

Air travel plans for spring 2014

This spring, Air is attending a variety of interesting events all over Europe.

Make sure you catch CEO Alan Robertson and Director David Kemp at Mipim, Cannes, France between 11th-13th March 2014.



Air Russia Director, Elena Rozanova will be speaking at the REX Marketing conference in Moscow on 25th March. She is going to discuss consumer experience in shopping centres and ways to improve it.

Elena will also be a part of UKTI Museums and Attractions Trade Mission to Russia visiting Saint Petersburg and Moscow on 3-6th March. She will do a  presentation on the importance of branding for museums in Russia and the rest of the world.

Elena will also be attending the ICSC European Conference in Istanbul in April 2014.

ICSC European Conference Istanbul 2014

You can find out more information about these events by checking our blog regularly.

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27th February 2014

Air at London Fashion Weekend

Air Designer, Laura Quantrill, got a fashion fix at this season’s London Fashion Weekend.

Between 20-23rd February, London’s Somerset House was host to Britain’s biggest biannual consumer fashion showcase, London Fashion Weekend. The event, attended by Air Designer Laura Quantrill, offered the public the chance to experience first-hand insider knowledge and style advice from some of Britain’s most famous brands. Shopping, catwalk shows, pop-up shops, hair and beauty, and talks from leading industry experts were all on the bill. Laura attended the trend catwalk that showcased four of S/S 2014’s top trends. These included Precious Metals – vibrant hues with iridescent finishes, Flower Power – anything from sixty-inspired prints to oversized motifs and delicate posies, Lace Embrace– wear as an overlay, sheer or neon, and Good Sport – the sport luxe look.

London Fashion Weekend 4

London Fashion Weekend 3

London Fashion Weekend 1

London Fashion Weekend 2

Images: Londonfashionweekend.co.uk

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24th February 2014

Tarasy Zamkowe – signage and interior upgrade

In 2011, Air had created new signage and wayfinding design for Silesia City Center (then owned by Immofinanz). This experience was so successful that at the end of 2013 we were appointed by Immofinanz to work on Tarasy Zamkowe in Lublin, Poland.

Our scope includes developing strategy and design for signage as well as an upgrade to the interior design package to maximise usability and deliver stunning interiors.

The scheme is now being built with a planned opening in Q4 2014. Tarasy Zamkowe is a multi-level retail building with 3-storey underground parking, 3-storey retail centre and a green roof. It has a leasable area of approximately 38,000 sqm and is located at the intersection of Unii Lubelskiej and Tysiaclecia Avenue, opposite the famous Lublin Castle.

Tarasy Zamkowe

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21st February 2014

Air’s travel blog

Air Director, David Kemp, has visited several cities in Germany, Poland, Turkey and Belgium on business. He has shared a few interesting pictures from his trip. Hope you’ll enjoy them!

Forum Duisburg, Germany

Isn’t this an interesting design feature? It definitely grabs the attention.

Street-art in Berlin – the Wall.


Mediacite, Liege, Belgium

Our work in the environment – Mediacite, Liege, Belgium

Piano zebra crossing in Warsaw, Poland – new way to look at public realm.


Brand new signage was recently installed in Kanyon, Istanbul, Turkey.



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