Bringing Visual Merchandising To Life - Some Options For The Brave!‹ Back to News


How often is the design/concept stage of a project interrupted by the thought that something would be expensive, or too complicated, or not possible in the time?  Visual display need not be static, and with the boundaries blurring in the media generally, why not import a bit of the razzmatazz of film-making into the retail environment?

This March, Artem’s CEO Mike Kelt was invited to give a talk at the Retail Design Expo at Olympia, covering these exact questions.

And in true Mike Kelt style, he did not hold back in throwing out some challenges to his audience. He discussed how VM is not just about display – it’s about interaction, entertainment, engagement, involvement, commitment.

At Artem, it’s our mix of creative and technical/engineering expertise that can help to achieve these objectives and push the boundaries – not only do our end results look good, but they can also incorporate mechanisms and movements that actually work. In the world of VM, this combination can only serve to create truly extraordinary and memorable experiences. Our Turner Prize 'Machine of Wonder', for example, was a Willy Wonka-type contraption with which the public could engage and interact in a fun and inspirational way. 

Turner Prize Machine 

With the addition of just a small mechanical element, one example of a window display which instantly became more interesting includes a Ted Baker Christmas window display we worked on with Millington Associates – a Santa whose moustache and eyebrows twitched, bringing him to life and drawing attention to the stores.

Window Display Santa

Mike discussed a few examples of Artem's work – from the static works of art that demonstrate Artem’s creative flair, such as the beautiful animal masks we made entirely out of Nike shoes for creative agency Rosie Lee…

Shoe ArtShoe Art

…to the 2.8m mechanical orrery we designed and created for Selfridges last Christmas, which functioned for 3 months, with planets orbiting within their own universe...

Orrery mechanical modelAnd there’s nothing quite like a bit of overturning of expectations that makes for a really cool piece of VM – something that prompts us to look twice. Perhaps this could be achieved by incorporating some of the more traditional on-set SFX into a VM project – a bit of smoke, for example? Another job for Selfridges last year, for example, involved creating a window comprising 3 textured discs, against which smoke or powder could be fired, on the hour, every hour, 7 days a week for the 8-week lifespan of the window, building up an ash-like material over the course of the installation.

Selfridges Smoke Window 

But what about incorporating some fire, wind, rain..? Mike is dying for the day that he can make it rain inside a shop window, for example – he’s all about a challenge! Or how about creating some kind of installation/prop whereby the rain falls from underneath the umbrella, while the outside of the umbrella remains dry?

We don’t shy away from the weird, wacky and wonderful, and with our 3D printers, robot arm and CNC facilities, we can build things of all shapes and sizes, comprising mechanical and electrical elements that can be determined using our CAD software before the manufacturing process begins, saving time and money. Our CAD software also allows us to produce visual renders so that our clients can know exactly what to expect from the finished product, and make any necessary adjustments.

There are endless possibilities for brilliant creativity in VM, and we’re here to help make the impossible, possible.