George Gottl is the Chief Executive Office and Co-Founder of FutureBrand UXUS, a leading global strategic design consultancy. UXUS creates innovative consumer experience solutions for clients such as McDonald’s, NIKE, InterContinental Hotels Group, Tate Modern and Bloomingdale’s Dubai. Prior to UXUS, George was the Creative Director of Apparel at Nike and the Global Creative Director at Mandarina Duck.
FutureBrand UXUS designs for a connected 21st century world that thirsts for the new. A world in which retail and hospitality are not just as places to shop, eat and sleep, but part of a new cultural landscape. Today the psychology of shareable moments drives everything: from design and architecture to service and customer journey.
This emotive customer take-away is just as important as the purchase. That’s why their design team blends retail, hospitality and branding with a psychological and emotive approach to design. They collaborate with the world’s biggest brands across diverse industries to reimagine their vision into emotive experiences that redefine categories. FutureBrand UXUS reimagines consumer experiences through 5 core services: Retail Design, Hospitality Design, Architecture, Graphic Design, Digital Storytelling.
We asked George to tell us about a space that he has found particularly inspiring recently, and this is what he said…
This year I came across Blue Mountain School, a new multi-purpose space in Shoreditch, London that blurs the boundaries between retail, hospitality, and art.
The townhouse has six floors that house a sanctuary to artisanal clothing labels and contemporary craft. I feel that this is such an immediate contrast to the other well-known retailers in the area. The Blue Mountain School concept magnifies the cultural resurgence of modern craft, which I think represents a counter shift to the immediacy and fast-retailing approach of global brands. 6a architects designed it with the intent to celebrate culture versus commerce, a topic I find really enjoy exploring in my work.
For me, the brilliance of Blue Mountain School is that every detail is meticulously crafted from design elements, unexpected curations, and cultural experiences. The building plays host to a selection of exquisite garments, many of which are stored in museum-quality steel archive track system, allowing staff to assist guests in the discovery and trial of one-of-a-kind pieces. This is a very interdisciplinary space – it also houses a furniture showroom by BBDW, an expansive table with an elegant showcase for fragrance brand Perfumer H, and ceramics by local artisans.
Beyond the traditional retailing approach, there is an evolving exhibition space, a kitchen by prominent chef Nuno Mendes that has a one-table dining room with a dynamic menu, and a listening room with a music library and monthly music events.
Blue Mountain School has influenced my recent projects by encouraging me to imagine a space as an evolving experience. I want my clients to have the flexibility to harmoniously integrate different cultural influences, product ranges, and content into a physical environment, thus making the design future-proof. In my experience, hybrid retail environments like Blue Mountain School are becoming increasingly popular on a commercial scale.
Today’s consumers are looking for diverse, hyper-experiential showrooms that enable consumers to engage with products in a context that’s relevant to their lives and aspirations.
When I’m developing new ideas with my clients, I think about spaces like Blue Mountain School and try to consider how I can make their projects more active. I try to develop and design retail experiences that are accommodating to a diverse product offering, regularly changing curations, and the ever-evolving needs of the consumer.
All images of Blue Mountain School by Johan Dehlin.