15 awards, 15 years – what the New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards mean in 2012.

It’s nearly 15 years since the first New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards were handed out to retailers, designers and shopfitters, and much has changed. Back then, we thought Virgin Megastore was state of the art as far as entertainment was concerned. Woolworths was still up and running, producing new formats such as Big W, and Selfridges had only recently lost its image as a bit of a tired old lady on Oxford Street.

Put this way, the retail landscape begins to sound like a foreign country. Yet the principle of recognising outstanding store design is as strong as ever. In its 15th year, the awards will be held at the Grosvenor Hotel on September 27. And as one of the longstanding judges of the New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards is Fitch chief creative officer Tim Greenhalgh, we decided to approach the consultancy to rebrand the awards. The brief for this was decided collaboratively and the result is an almost entirely new look and feel for the awards and everything associated with them.

Retail Week Intererior awards

Fitch provided Retail Week with four different design options and the one that you see on this page and on the front cover was the overwhelming favourite. The branding needed to say ‘design’ in an unequivocal manner and that anybody putting forward a store for these awards should be aware they are entering a design competition. Also, owing to this design’s inherent flexibility, it can be subtly changed each year. 

The New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards have been about UK store design and that remains core. That said, there has been a shift over the past few years that has seen the UK being treated almost as a store design supermarket – a place where a new store interior can be created by some of the world’s leading talent and taken elsewhere. We have also been fortunate enough to have this more global view of store design reinforced by New Store Europe, the headline sponsor for the awards.

For some time there has been a pressing need for the awards to incorporate international store design and for this reason, there are a number of new categories for 2012: International Fashion Retailer of the Year, International Non-Food Large Format of the Year, International Supermarket/ Hypermarket of the Year and International Department Store of the Year. These are all intended for non-UK projects – breaking down what was previously a catch-all category and meaning that retailers can now enter the competition in the knowledge that their efforts are being assessed against others from within their sector.

We have also added an additional category for Design Team of the Year, which recognises the in-house or agency team that has consistently delivered exciting and innovative retail interiors during the past 12 months. So if you think your design team has done outstanding work, then don’t hesitate to enter it for the award.

An important point about the New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards is that it remains free – this is not a competition that demands a fee to enter – a facet that all too frequently reflects an ability to pay, instead of a competition that welcomes all interested parties.

On its 15th birthday, the New Store Europe Retail Week Interiors Awards continues to evolve and to reflect an industry that is changing. Now is a good time to start considering what you would like to enter.