Sports hardware brand Shimano – arguably best known for its bicycle gear systems – has opened the Shimano Experience Centre in Valkenburg in the Netherlands. The venue has been created as a hub for fishing, cycling and rowing enthusiasts, all of whom use Shimano equipment.
(Author : Retail Design World)
The centre,combines technology with the excitement of outdoor sports in a bid to create an immersive indoor-outdoor experience. The brief called for an educational space with three key functions: as a social hub, a learning space and an experiential product showroom.
It is also aimed at two key audience. These are described as the ‘microadventurist’ – an outdoor explorer who regularly takes part in sporting activities, and is eager to learn new skills; and the recreational specialist, who may have more defined expertise and enthusiasms.
A zoning strategy divides the communal space and product experience areas. A welcome lounge, called Shimano Go, and a workshop area provide customers with designated gathering spaces, so they can get to know one another while learning about the brand.
The lounge features a screen to show live sports, such as the Tour de France, and films about cycling, rowing and fishing. An interactive screen with a map planning feature lets users save the location of their favourite fishing spots and sync them to a Fish Shimano app on their mobile phones. A ‘heritage cloud’ or interactive timeline is used to detail the history of the bicycle and the Shimano brand.
The product section of the store contains specific areas for each sport, with integrated technology used to elevate the customer experience. Examples include a virtual reality cycling simulator that allows the latest bikes to be tested in an immersive setting that mimics different terrains and inclines – with optional wind and sound effects.
Customers can interact with all the components of a Shimano bike – from the gears to the pedals – at different points, while the ‘optimal cycling’ station lets riders determine and experience the ideally-shaped bicycle for them.
A series of screens let customers try Shimano’s wide range of fishing equipment. A mini fishing booth features rods connected to a large screen behind a plinth, giving customers the chance to catch a virtual fish. Rowers can take part in a race using a rowing simulator.
A neutral colour palette of whites and greys is mixed with Shimano’s corporate blue, giving a minimal backdrop to emphasise the connection of the products to the natural world outside. A limited choice of materials includes concrete and plywood.