This is Estella – a name that will be almost totally unfamiliar to British ears as it is a fledgling retailer that has just opened its first store, in Cologne.
Part kitchenware store, part food retailer and part cooking experience, this shop has much in common with the ethos that informed the opening, earlier this year, of Jamie Oliver’s Recipease store in Battersea. Where it differs, however, is in its focus on a Mediterranean theme to hold the whole experience together.
London-based design consultancy Twelve developed the name into an identity and created a look and feel for the communication and interior as well as helping to define the merchandising. The outcome is a store where oak flooring and display units sit side by side with found furniture, creating a sense of warmth and domesticity. Colours are muted, the stock does much of the work in this space, and lighting levels have been kept deliberately low.
In the middle of the shop there is a fully functioning kitchen where a calendar of cookery events will be held to inspire those who want, or perhaps need, to know more about how to prepare food. The aim is that individuals or groups can come to learn about cookery as an alternative night out.
Cologne is, by German standards, a cosmopolitan city, and this addition to the retail landscape fits well. It also hits the spot as far as picking up on the trend for seeing and doing, in retail, is concerned.
There is probably not room for huge numbers of stores of this type but, nevertheless, it is a new market and, as yet, relatively undersupplied.