In the Eye of the Beholder

Mußler Beauty by Notino is a brand new beauty concept intended to serve as both the launchpad for a European brand and also a test bed of ideas and services for bringing online and offline together—all within a distinctive physical space that invites shoppers to get inspired and get expert advice.

By Mark Faithfull

Mußler Beauty, Stuttgart, Germany’s traditional perfumery store chain, and Notino, a European online retailer for beauty care, merged in April 2017. Last November, the newly jointed company opened the first new concept store in the Gerber shopping mall in Stuttgart. Dubbed Mußler Beauty by Notino, the launch store is the first of 10 planned in Germany, with an additional 50 shops planned throughout Europe. The new concept aims to bring the online-offline brand to life in a distinctive space that merges the growing online business with the need for service, advice and product experience in the beauty sector.

“Mußler Beauty by Notino is a fusion…a joint brand to leverage the best of both worlds and [a] pioneer of the future of retail,” says Frank Dittel, founder and owner of DIA – Dittel Architekten, the Stuttgart-based firm tasked with the project. “The brief was to develop a design language that gives the newly merged brand an authentic face, brings to life the online-offline brand, meets the expectations of customers and can be adapted to various locations and cities.”

Everything revolves around what the consumer is looking for in physical retail, including individualization, emotional connection, social exchange and exclusivity. Customers can enter the store from two opposite sides, either from the outdoor shopping street or indoor shopping mall. Passersby are attracted by a digital shop window with sightlines into the interior. When entering the shop from the mall entrance, the customer first encounters a wooden pop-up box with constantly changing product highlights and local brands. In the middle of the room, there is a lounge with a coffee machine and make-up mirrors, where customers can test products, get consultations, socialize with friends or just relax and have a coffee.

The remainder of the shop has been transformed into a showroom, with strong visual merchandising, pop-up spaces for niche products and spacious seating areas. The open, spatial concept guides shoppers through a range of different experiences, including a hair styling bar, eyebrow bar, men’s world, make-up school and exclusive workshops with the stars of the beauty scene. Each of these themes has been created in individual sections, with furniture and fixtures—largely in gray and black palettes, punctuated by splashes of color— designed to reflect the personality of each service.

The design team had to keep in mind that the customer wants to be consulted and get inspired, Dittel notes. “The concept to position the brand is focused on service: the symbiosis of design, functionality and technology transforms the various services into architecture,” Dittel says. “It delivers the message: ‘feel comfortable, get inspired and enjoy the services.’”

The design concept places specific brands and themes in individual units while embracing them in an integral umbrella design. The different units have their own design language to communicate the specific content. For example, the men’s world is a welcoming lounge in the center of the store, with free drinks, a pleasant atmosphere and enough room for relaxed browsing through the shelves. Bespoke designer furniture and rustic wood define the atmosphere. By contrast, the women’s fragrances department has been created as a retreat, with individual units subdivided by room partitions to give a feeling of privacy and intimacy. And the hair styling bar has been created in a 1960s retro style.

The design language appears overtly industrial, urban and modern, using an exposed, dark ceiling and strong metal shelves. In contrast, there are soft materials, playful details and muted colors, which are used for specific target groups. A tiled floor links the entire surface area and is a ubiquitous design element, with different colored grouting for the individual areas serving as the only contrast.

A wall alive with plants featuring angular concrete washbasins and taps with a rustic patina symbolizes the trend toward natural cosmetics, and has a strong effect on the atmosphere of the whole store.

With the additional planned stores in mind, the design concept is modular, so that the different units can be adapted for different locations and room sizes. The design language of materials and color composition, as well as the system of individual units, define the brand and will be implemented in future stores. As a first step, DIA – Dittel Architekten is developing a pop-up concept for shopping centers.


project file

Mußler Beauty by Notino
Stuttgart, Germany


DIA – Dittel Architekten

Molto Luce

Graziano Fliesen, Villeroy & Boch

Rudolf Lichtwerbung

Nöchel GmbH, FlowerArt, Omexco, Marburger Tapetenfabrik, Vescom

Bakof group, Karl Körner, Kvadrat

Nazor Innenausbau

ADT Sensormatic

Joan Ciobirdan

BEHO Kälteservice

H Diener

Information in the project file is provided by the retailer and/or design firm.

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