17th November 2014

Best is getting better

If you are the best, how do you get better? Not a question asked very often – but it was the question asked here. Metropolis is arguably the most successful shopping mall in Russia, but the new owners still saw great potential. We were appointed to develop a new brand positioning for the next phase of the mall’s life.


At the heart of their improvements is a strong push to develop reputation as the definitive retail place for the best, new fashion in Moscow. We took inspiration directly from the fashion world, where you can rely on certain style publications to direct you in your fashion journey. So Metropolis would be the physical equivalent.


Curators of Style is a simple position to adopt. A place where we bring to the latest and best from the fashion world – and importantly allows us to constantly develop and reinvent the offer, moving with the times. We also redesigned the visual identity, publishing a brand book and visual identity guidelines.



22nd October 2014

Air designs signage for Planeta


Air has been appointed by the well-known Russian developer – RosEvroDevelopment – to design a signage system for their new shopping and entertainment centre Planeta in Novokuznetsk. Inspired by the new direction for interior design that was developed by Sonae Sierra, our team is looking to create new ideas and solutions. The results of this cooperation can be seen when the scheme will be open in late 2014.

21st October 2014

Importance of research for branding



In today’s fast moving and competitive retail market, the role of branding and design is becoming increasingly important, as brands have to operate at the cutting edge and push boundaries. The design vocabulary is constantly changing. Colours come in and out of fashion, minimalism gives way to opulence, and so the story continues…

Most tenant brands have their fingers on the pulse, so if a mall seems not to understand what’s in fashion it can affect how retailers view its ability to understand other aspects of the business. It’s therefore essential that malls stay in tune with style, and show this through the design and branding of their assets.

For an industry dominated by greying male decision makers, often based in countries thousands of miles from their assets, it’s ironic that engaging the young female audiences and understanding local sensitivities is often seen as the key to success. Qualitative research is therefore an essential tool for ensuring brands and marketing communications are positioned correctly, having contemporary validity and local relevance. That said, it is surprising how rarely such investments are made, especially given the high costs (and risks) of developing a new brand. Get it wrong and these can go off the scale, with mistakes sometimes taking years to rectify and affecting sales and footfall.

Consumer research need only take a few weeks, and shouldn’t cost much, especially if you’re able to do it internally.

Samples can comprise of existing and/or new customers from the relevant demographic. We’d normally propose conducting at least four focus groups of 6-8 people, lasting a couple of hours, though one-on-one interviews depth interviews also work well.

The topics covered depends on your objectives but typical areas can include:

- Favourite retail brands (at your mall, if it already exists, and elsewhere)
- Malls visited, likes and dislikes
- Social media, reading and TV habits
- Lifestyle – leisure time, hobbies etc.
- Aspirations – what you’re into, looking to buy (or be bought!) next
- Favourite meeting places, and what makes them special?
- Likes and dislikes of your mall, what type of image does it have?

Research also presents the opportunity to introduce visual stimuli and test proposed brand and/or marketing concepts.

If you’re looking to attract lapsed or new customers there needs to be a focus on why your scheme currently fails to attract them, and what it needs to do to change this.

As well as informing the creative aspects of branding and positioning, research can also influence leasing, operations, facilities, human resources and all many of aspects. After all, a brand isn’t just a logo, it’s the values people associate your mall, which are shaped by their physical experience of it.

Nevertheless, try to keep your expectations in check as findings don’t always offer new insights and sometimes just tell us what we already knew, or at least thought we did. In these situations research acts more like insurance, helping us avoid making costly mistakes, or giving us the confidence to make tough decisions when faced with uncertainty.

All that said, try not to let research stifle creativity or innovation. As Steve Jobbs once said, “it isn’t the consumers job to know what they want”. Often the most valuable (and fun!) research you can do is your own, reading blogs and magazines, trend-spotting, visiting new malls and retail concepts.

By David Kemp

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20th October 2014

More events on our schedule

Our team just can’t stop moving.

Alan Robertson, David Kemp and Elena Rozanova are all at MAPIC in Cannes on 19th to 21st of November. Elena Rozanova will also attend ICSC Retail Strategy and Trends Forum in Milan on 27th and 28th of November.

Contact our office to set up meetings and catch up over the events.


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6th October 2014

Storytelling in branding

Real Estate Development & Marketing - Made in London Business tour

Alan Robertson, CEO of Air, is going to give a talk on storytelling in branding during Real Estate Development & Marketing: Made in London Business tour.

The idea about the topic came during a long discussion about the brands and its development and the way they communicate with customers. As humans, we tend to remember stories much easier as they have a certain layout that we know since childhood. So how should brands create, develop and tell their stories to attract and hold the customer? Alan will share his view on this based on Air’s experience and global practice.

About the event:

Real Estate Development & Marketing: Made in London Business tour is organized by Russian-British company Redenex on 20-24 October, 2014.

The Tour will be hosted in London, the city that presents latest real estate development trends and cutting-edge architecture.

Real Estate Development & Marketing: Made in London is:

3 days of rich business programme
5+ world-renown projects of commercial and residential real estate including visiting new regeneration areas
20+ hours for networking with key developers and marketing professionals of the UK
12 British experts in real estate development and marketing
2 optional programmes: Residential Real Estate and Commercial Real Estate

The main Business tour programme is divided into 2 streams:

- Top management
- Marketing directors

Organizers in mutual cooperation with the leading British companies will carry out seminars on the latest trends and first-hand experience of development, marketing, promotion, wayfinding, branding etc. Tour’s participants will visit one of the leading international exhibition in media and technologies Ad:Tech to meet exponents and speakers.

For detailed information, please, contact our Tour key client managers

In Europe:  Marina Logacheva, +44 7554 980981

In Russia:  Anna Ignatenko, +7 960 701 35 11

Or e-mail us: madeinlondon[at]redenex.com

Receiving an unforgettable experience of intensive business communications and getting inspired for the benefit of business development is easy! You can enjoy it too as a participant of the Business Tour “Real Estate Development & Marketing: Made in London”.

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3rd October 2014

We are going to EXPO!


Alan Robertson, David Kemp and Elena Rozanova are all attending EXPO REAL in Munich next week.

The goal is to learn about new trends and ideas and to meet partners and colleagues from all over Europe.

Please contact us if you want to set up a meeting +44 (0)845 450 6575.

See you in Munich!

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2nd June 2014

Belle-Ile to get an extension and upgrade by Air


Belle-Ile shopping centre, located in Liege, Belgium, is getting a brand and interiors upgrade along with a 6,000-sqm extension. Air is delighted to have been recently appointed by Wereldhave Belgium as lead concept designer and architect for the project.  The centre was opened in 1994 and currently hosts 96 shops across 20,000 sqm providing its visitors with a pleasant shopping experience in a welcoming atmosphere. The extension will introduce new double-height stores along  as well as a number of cafes and restaurants with terraces and a river-view.


29th May 2014

Refreshing brand and signage for Cevahir


Cevahir is not only one of the largest shopping malls in world with a GLA of 110,000 sqm but also, arguably, the most commercially successful in Istanbul. It has mass market appeal as and attracts a significant proportion of middle class customers. Air was appointed to refresh the brand as well as create a strategy and design for new wayfinding and signage. The centre is currently home to over 300 stores on 6 levels, providing its visitors with an extensive entertainment offer and 2,500 parking places for convenience.

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27th May 2014

Air creates brand stories for Corio Germany

What’s a brand story? Put simply, it’s the story a brand tells it’s customers or visitors through all of it’s touch points. We like to call it the DNA of the brand. It couldn’t be more important. If you get the brand story wrong, it like having a car using the wrong fuel. But get it right and you have the opportunity to build a strong brand that really resonates with customers.

At Air we believe in making this brand story central to the development of any project, whether it’s a logo design, signage strategy, interior refreshment or architecture. We are taking this approach with Corio for asset management and marketing across their German portfolio. After successfully completing development of a brand story for Boulevard Berlin we’ve followed this with strategic work for Centrum Galerie in Dresden and Arneken Galerie in Hildesheim. All three are in implementation phases now. Watch this space for the results, as the new stories start coming to life…

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21st May 2014



AIR’s first steps in the Middle East were to design the interior of an upcoming new retail destination in Dubai, soon to become the new talk of the town. It is called THE MALL.

The brief was to be refreshingly different and stand out from Dubai’s existing shopping offer.

Located in the most attractive part of town, on Jumeirah beach road frontage, the priority was for the interior to reflect the brand’s personality: a unique destination and human scale. From creating the layout of the mall in the very early stages giving the mall a welcoming and friendly atmosphere was our aim; to facilitate the user experience.


The interior look and feel is very graphic referencing the angular shapes reminiscent of the brand logo from floor to ceiling. Cafés and rest areas are spread across the mall complimenting the architecture with a natural colour palette of sandy tones and blues that seem to merge beautifully with the landscape. A water feature emerges from the sides of the escalators creating a wow-factor and bringing the place to life. It appears to continue flowing down to the car park inviting the customers up.

By using similar elements and colours inside and outside, it brings coherence to the building as opposed to a blind box approach. Again making you feel more welcome… Coming soon…


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