World of Wonder

Anthropologie & Co. stores bring the best of the brand and more under one bohemian-chic roof

By Erin M. Loewe

Anthropologie has long been synonymous with eclectic clothes and home wares combined with whimsical store designs that keep its customers coming back. The retailer, which is owned by Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters, recently launched a new concept in select cities: Anthropologie & Co. It merges the best of its lifestyle-focused core with its bridal and gardening lines all in one place.

Created by the company’s in-house design team, the new Anthropologie & Co. concept shops more like a department store, averaging more than 20,000 sq. ft., about three times the size of the typical Anthropologie. It includes dedicated salons for expanded selections of shoes and accessories, intimates, beauty and home, in addition to apparel and sister brands BHLDN (bridal) and Terrain, which encompasses garden and outdoor delights.

“Anthropologie & Co. is the fullest expression of our brand and the best reflection of our customer’s lifestyle,” says Missy Peltz, chief creative officer at Anthropologie. “The stores are a direct response to her desire for a more immersive and comprehensive experience of our brand that addresses all of her wants and needs in one place. Anthropologie & Co. allows seamless access to Anthropologie, BHLDN and Terrain, opportunities for tactile interaction with new and expanded product categories, like custom furniture and beauty, and a more elevated level of service.”

Anthropologie & Co. opened its first stores in fall 2016, in Walnut Creek and Palo Alto, Calif., as well as King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia. Each of the new stores is unique, although there are many common product and design features that fans will recognize.

To put the concept’s grand scale into perspective, about one-third of Anthropologie & Co. (the size of a typical Anthropologie store) is dedicated to the home line. Besides the addition of thoughtfully staged showrooms for bedrooms, dining and living areas, the home area features “marketplaces” for bedding, kitchen accoutrements and other items pulled from the showrooms to make them more easily shoppable.

The main feature in the home area in all Anthropologie & Co. stores is the Design Center, a hub of fabric swatches and live interior design expertise to help patrons design anything from a chair to an entire house. “It’s all flexible and customizable,” says Tyler Ingle, visual special projects manager at Anthropologie. “It’s exciting for the customer, where she can be inspired by spaces and make them her own.”

Despite their expanded footprints and offerings, each store is easily recognizable as Anthropologie, thanks in large part to the fixtures and finishes. Rebecca Fisher, senior brand experience manager at Anthropologie, says the design team aimed to keep the mix of materials and color interesting to customers. “The plaster, fabric and wood finishes we use in our standard stores were maintained, but by amping up the texture, saturation and pattern a bit, we emphasized key areas of the store,” she says.

While both the Walnut Creek and Palo Alto stores feature large staircases between their two floors, Palo Alto’s also has an installation of clothespins cascading from the ceiling. “You can see it from far away, but it overlaps and changes as you move through the space,” Ingle says. “Our displays rarely get to ‘sing’ on their own; you don’t always know what is part of the store design and what is part of the product. But it’s exciting to have moments of grandeur, like handmade parts of the Anthropologie experience.”

Highlights at the bohemian-loft-inspired Palo Alto store also include a hanging yarn installation and a unique cashwrap. “We purposely created a centralized hub for customers to gather, and all of the shops were strategically programmed around it to create the perfect customer experience,” Peltz explains. “The team cladded the entire center volume with antique Persian rugs that reference the bazaar-like nature of our assortment. It was a nod to our roots and reminiscent of our first few store experiences more than 20 years ago.”

In the BHLDN bridal salons, wedding gowns appear to float ethereally, thanks to ceiling-mounted steel fixtures. The beauty areas are also expanded and outfitted with unique fixtures and furniture. At Walnut Creek, a French pharmacy cabinet dating from 1802 displays must-have products.

“In beauty, our combination of white lacquered tables with walls of antique apothecaries pulled from European shops, and reclaimed hemlock topped with sparkly plexi, provides the customer with a unique tactile experience, in our own Anthropologie way,” Fisher says.

Also new to the concept is the Terrain Café, a 2,500-sq.-ft. restaurant nestled in the store to round out a day of shopping all things Anthropologie. It incorporates some of the lush offerings of the Terrain area combined with local and seasonal fare. Although it is so far only in the Palo Alto location, the second will open in the upcoming Westport, Conn., Anthropologie & Co. store this March. The company hopes to add it to future concept stores where space allows.

Anthropologie & Co. maintains the eclectic coziness people have come to love while seamlessly integrating new experiences. “We wanted to protect the ideas of a destination and being inspired,” Ingle notes. “There are still things to discover and things to see.”


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