• Alhumaidhi Architects

Apotheca Beauty Co.

Location: Salhiya, Kuwait

Structure Type: Commercial

Year Completed: 2017

As a boutique makeup & beauty store, Apotheca is a fast-growing business that houses some of the world’s premium niche beauty brands. The owners, three Kuwaiti sisters, had initially approached Alhumaidhi Architects to finish designing and building their first location at a local mall. Two years later, they had a new mandate: to build the brand’s first flagship store in Dubai, UAE.

While the clients wished to maintain some of sort of design connection with their first store, we knew we wanted to revise and expand on the initial design.

For one thing, we wanted to ensure Apotheca stood out from other businesses in the same field. The makeup industry is a fast-paced one, with new products and emerging brands being introduced at an extremely rapid pace. Unfortunately, this pace has caused most makeup chains to appear rather chaotic, with stores busting at the brim with stacked shelves and overcrowded product islands as far as the eye can see.

For Apotheca, we wanted a completely different user experience, one that reflected elegance, luxury and serenity. As early as the entrance, we opted for the non-traditional route of creating two side entrances for the beauty store. This, in turn, allowed us to frame the logo in the center and, by extension, the skincare area. Framing the entrance also added a sense of symmetry to the overall appearance, exuding the feeling of luxury that the brand wished to portray.

For the interior, we decided to anchor everything around the central seating area, pushing all major display elements to the wall. At the center of the store, we allocated space for a seating area, inviting customers to take their time at the store, fully engaging with the brand and experiencing the products. We knew a crammed layout (similar to that of most makeup stores) could result in the customer feeling rushed or hurried. By ensuring the store felt spacious, warm and inviting, we created a sense of intimacy for both customers & the brand.

Perhaps one of our favorite aspects of the space was its verticality in both depth and height, a feature which made it possible for us to offer an alternative way to display products (through the addition of shelves) that exudes elegance and lightness of feel.

Whereas traditional makeup/department stores house bulky tables that hold multiple products at once (including storage), we took an alternate route. By opting for pedestals with multiple legs, we added breathability to the space and elevated the sense of elegance.

The store’s layout encompasses several sections that open up onto each other, rather than being divided or closed off. For each divider (with the exception of the one used for the storage space), we opted for glass. At the back of the store, we allocated a space for makeup artists and tutorials. This space further looks out onto a specialized room encased in glass, in which customers can receive skincare treatments. All storage was hidden from view in the back.

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