Many of Europe’s biggest store equipment manufacturers will launch their next generation products at EuroShop. Mark Faithfull looks at some of the innovations to be unveiled in Düsseldorf

There was a time when exhibitions were the major platform for new product launches and new initiatives across many industries. But the increasingly diverse range of marketing channels available and the need to hit the market quickly have diluted their importance in the annual calendar. The same, however, cannot be said of retail behemoth EuroShop.

Held every three years, the investment levels pumped in to the exhibits at the event by some of the biggest European manufacturers and service providers require some news splashes to go with them. Consequently, plenty of new ranges get their first airing within the enormous halls of Düsseldorf’s Messe, with 2011 promising a fresh batch of innovation.

There will be plenty of focus on lighting this year, given the huge strides being taken by LED technology, but modern twists on traditional equipment will also take their fair share of shelf space. Here we feature just a few of the likely highlights to emerge from EuroShop 2011.

Amtico: Taking to the floor

“These translate the latest design trends to the commercial flooring sector.”

Amtico International marketing manager Sian Lewis

On-trend flooring specialist Amtico is launching three new ranges at EuroShop: Metal, Mica Mix and Travertine, offering a combined 13 flooring styles. Amtico Metal will be available in six shades, with a rippled and beaten texture, which Amtico describes as “gleaming not glitzy” and “bright but not brash”. To create a modern twist, the flooring can be installed in skinny planks and grids or located within feature areas.

Amtico Mica Mix combines four cream and earth tones with scattered sparkles to provide a clean but durable solution, while “geology meets architecture” with Amtico Travertine, capturing the essence of natural stone by depicting a pitted and tumbled appearance without the porous instability of the real thing, coupled with a warm and elegant finish.

Amtico International marketing manager Sian Lewis reflects: “These new collections confirm our ongoing commitment to continually translate the latest design trends to the commercial flooring sector.”

Alu: Maintaining flexibility

Free standing or wall mounted, Slash is a 360° system with a contemporary and eye-catching design. It provides lots of options for designers and specifiers, who can define the material used as aluminium, painted steel or any other material to match the store design. Several models are available in a variety of shapes to create different visual solutions and the system can be adapted - tubes can be cut to measure and dimensions played with and Alu stresses that Slash can easily fit anywhere.

The company says such adaptability means Slash can be used to construct a clothes hanger, be turned into a table, can be slotted and the shelves used for folding, used to display graphics, or even as a space divider within a shop interior.

Philips Lighting: LEDs lead the way

Philips Lighting has embarked on a major communications initiative to better inform both designers and specifiers and the public about the role lighting has in enhancing interior and exterior space. At the forefront of that message is LED technology and Philips will be running an LED Masterclass in Düsseldorf on March 1 between 3pm and 5pm to explain the role and opportunities with LED lighting.

Philips has promoted a major push for LEDs in retail and is running a trial installation at the Foyles book store at London’s One New Change shopping centre with developer and operator Land Securities. The store is lit using only LEDs.

“Core LED lighting technology enabled us to bring the most ambitious ideas to life”

Vladimir Gabrielyan, Philips Lighting

Last autumn, Philips demonstrated internationally the flexibility and design capabilities of LEDs to illuminate the Ginza shopping street inside Russia’s themed Vegas shopping mall, developed by Crocus Group and covering an area of 386,000 sq m.

The Ginza street hosts over 25 luxury shops, two restaurants and a recreation area, all evenly lit by warm white light in the Japanese ‘stone garden’ style. A matrix of sparkling LED lights in the ceiling give the impression of a starry

sky and to achieve the design effect, the Philips team had to develop 32 separate facades in different styles, with LEDs embedded in a variety of surfaces - perforated panels, acrylic beams, wood and metal panels, glass shutters and other materials.

“Core LED lighting technology enabled us to bring the most ambitious ideas to life thanks to their structural flexibility, small size and energy efficiency,” says Vladimir Gabrielyan, vice-president and general manager of Philips Lighting in Russia. 

Vizona: Seasonal presentation

Vizona has identified store planning, sustainability and energy costs as the three key trends for this year’s show. The company says sales spaces will increasingly develop into communication and meeting places and adds that key issues are store spaces, which can be easily changed and modified flexibly according to seasons, and the presentation of merchandise, with the goal to “surprise customers again and again”, citing its work with Hallhuber in Cologne as an example of building flexibility into store design.

Vizona has also identified what it describes as “emotionalisation” of sales areas in relation to target consumer groups using fragrance, sound and interactive elements. Despite current differences between the physical retail spaces and the online shop, customers should also have access to the amenities they are accustomed to on the web at the store, for example, the “virtual wardrobe”, “a type of forum” or “send goods home”, says Vizona.

Fairfield Displays: Staying on track

Fairfield Displays has developed a range of systems that can be customised. Show highlights are set to include creative use of the latest in “floating” light boxes. With LED technology these floating light boxes have been created for window displays and the new ultra-slim and highly energy efficient light boxes have been developed as a practical and economical visual merchandising solution.

Fairfield also says it is now possible for a non-technical person to easily manage digital signage screens at multiple sites and update them in seconds. Fairfield has put together a complete range of easy-to-use digital signage ideas, from simple media players to complete web-based solutions along with innovative ways of displaying screens in display stands and on the Suspended Rod System.

Umdasch: In-store sustainability

Austrian giant Umdasch Shop-Concept and Assmann Ladenbau will present their products and services under the motto “A la carte”.

One of Assmann Ladenbau’s focal points is sustainability, where it will present its low ecological footprint Green Shelf. Shelves for this are made of wood, bamboo, cardboard, banana stalks and reeds. The Smart Shelf features product information in the form of a 2D code and can be called up at any time on a display or monitor in real time. The Fino presentation system, based on the ALL4One family, features organic forms, concave and convex shelf shapes and backlighting using LED technology.

Umdasch Shop-Concept will be introducing three new systems: HangingFrame shelving is affixed to tracks on the ceiling and can be freely positioned within the shop space; AlGate consists of a moulded aluminium structure and can be fitted with back elements or used as an open framework; and StackEasy, with the help of universal mounting sockets, legs and spacing tubes can be mounted onto wood and glass panels.