An original and bold global retail design and business experience strategy to reshape the entire Lotus retail network.

In 2020, Meda won the role to be appointed as Lotus’ retail design consultants after an eleven-way competitive pitch.
It’s been quite a journey over the last two years.
And it all began with one project – to create a strategy and design direction for the future of a brand remaking itself for the next decade of automotive retailing.
Our starting point was to begin shaping a proposition that could only belong to Lotus; that would help shape Lotus’ future by creating a new kind of retail experience. A retail experience that dares to be original. That challenges everything. And is bold. That is first and foremost, a retail experience that is and always will be ‘a Lotus’.
We began by undoing everything that others have done; stripping everything out and only putting back what would be needed, in order to ‘gain’ more. In other words – and to use words that have steered the direction of the brand since its inception – to ‘add lightness’ to Lotus retail spaces.
By undoing the usual multi-layered and over-complex typical approach to automotive retail environmental design, we rediscovered the three fundamental pillars that a physical space must enable the customer to do. In no specific order, these are:

  • Recognise the brand
  • See the car
  • Talk to someone.

So our aim was to provide for, and design around, these as three key spaces:

  • ‘Curated by Lotus’ – A space curated by Lotus that enables us to communicate who we are and what we stand for. A space that can evolve with us and our future customers. Never standing still, yet always true to our core values.
  • ’Simply the Car’ – Just a single Lotus in its own space. Ready to be viewed, appreciated and explored.
  • ‘The Forum’ – We’ve removed all unnecessary digital noise, duplication and replication of content and interface, to provide a quiet and relevant form of digital technology that enables drivers to connect and exchange information. A single space where people come together to talk to each other.

We explored what each space needed to contain, how large they should be, where things should be placed and what needs to happen in them.
Depending on the location, target audience, where Lotus are in the product cycle and the physical scale of the individual Lotus retail space, the size and content of these areas can vary, depending on the sort of retail experience we are seeking to create.
The result is a series of ‘fixed’ points, delineated by a range of unique components, that can flex and fill any space – including, critically, spaces where ‘cars’ wouldn’t ordinarily be expected to appear. We coined this new integration of physical and retail, ‘augmented retail.’
It is future-proofed with a matrix of formats we have designed for maximum adaptability. This ‘format matrix’ has also grown to become the retail business model, helping Lotus towards its ambition to adopt the ‘agency’ retail model.
The new Retail Identity programme was launched to the Lotus network and partners in spring 2021, and is captured in the guideline that bears its name.
We could have never foreseen the paths this initial appointment has lead to, as we now enter the second year collaborating with Lotus cars, globally, across a huge range of projects.

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About Richard Hill

Creative director, writer, designer, illustrator based in the UK with global project experience and consulting skills across sectors.

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