In the heart of London, on Covent Garden’s bustling Long Acre, Fujifilm is delivering a picture of what the store of the future could look like. In an age where experience is as important as product, the Japanese camera giant has unveiled its world-first concept store with a focus on collaboration and the celebration of image making.
The photography brand chose London to showcase its new store concept which brings together the various parts of its business under one roof, inspiring professionals, enthusiasts and amateur photographers to get the most out of sharing and printing photos.
The Fujifilm “House of Photography” is designed to deliver a 360-degree sensory experience, where enthusiasts, professionals and ordinary people alike can discover and immerse themselves in the company’s full product offering, from cameras and lenses to printing solutions. “The House of Photography represents our vision of a photography playground,” explains Theo Georghiades, Fujifilm’s House of Photography project leader. “This is the place for the public and creatives to connect with our brand and experience our passion for photography, from picture taking to picture making. We want to inspire all visitors and to give them a chance to see how our products nurture their creativity in a visually stimulating environment.” Fujifilm collaborated with London-based Liberation Build on the design of the three-floor photography hub, which is made up of several curated zones that encourage visitors to get hands on with the brand.
Upon entering the store, shoppers encounter the Instax play zone, where they are invited to take and print photos with friends. These can then be displayed on the live wall in the “Share Your London” space. The ground floor also features a mini stage, where local businesses come in to show their moves and skills, as well as a Wonder Photo Shop, which has been growing around the world as the benchmark for all the printing and photo gifting services that Fujifilm has to offer. Before ascending the main staircase, customers also have the opportunity to get behind the lens to explore the exotic flower-bedecked living wall, which is an explosion of colors and textures.
The entire first floor is designed to encourage creative flow, sharing of ideas and learning of the possibilities available to everyone with photography, using materials that are a reinterpretation of traditional Japanese surfaces. It further brings together creativity, social interaction and photographic know-how with a number of free-to-use social studios, a dedicated seminar zone and a gallery space, which launched with renowned photographer Markus Klinko and his portraits of the late music icon David Bowie. Tucked around the corner from the gallery is the GFX boutique, where experts are on hand to provide one-to-one consultations for the medium format mirrorless cameras.
The basement level is home to the Long Acre Club, a relaxed yet sophisticated area where pro photographers and club members can network, hire the Pro Studio, attend workshops and meet clients. “The primary aim of the House of Photography is to encourage visitors to get involved. To explore the photo opportunities and use the free facilities,” says Jack Cassel-Gerard, insights and marketing executive at Liberation Build. The experiential space is a hub of activity and learning, designed to amplify society’s love of photography via a wonderland of sensory photo opportunities, explains Luke Allum, creative director at Liberation Build. This store places less emphasis on sales and profit, and more focus on creativity and collaboration.
“The House of Photography is all about ‘touch and try,’ from getting a chance to play with our Instax photography cameras and take away a free print, to getting hands on with our X Series digital cameras,” Georghiades notes. “The retail landscape will continue to evolve and consumer spend will continue to move from the high street to online, but we’re confident that retailers who are focused on delivering genuine face-to-face experiential brand environments will excel.”
“The House of Photography is a world-first for Fujifilm, and has long been part of our vision for how consumers experience the brand,” said Georghiades. “We are looking forward to providing a space for creative collaboration and photographic excellence that completely subverts the traditional approach to how consumers expect a photography store to look and feel. There is something here for everyone, from Fujifilm enthusiasts and industry professionals, to members of the general public whose photography is mainly smartphone-based. It is a complete sensory experience designed to inspire everyone to create amazing images and share them with the world.”
During a tour of the new store in December, Georghiades said it was not launched to compete with its retail partners, but to provide customers an experience, while showing its retailers how they can expand their own businesses.
8-9 Long Acre, Charing Cross, London WC2E 9LH, UK
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