Christmas windows are the most important in the year for retailers and our client De Beers is no exception.
4D’s Viv Williams takes us through how he created this year’s sophisticated blue and white windows for the world’s most famous diamond company.
This year’s concept was by designer Robert Millar. Entitled Preparing for Christmas it draws some inspiration from a Nutcracker setting, a lovely house, empty of people, with a sense of anticipation of what might be …
The dark blue and white 3D pen drawings show three different scenes – a book-lined drawing room with presents strewn about, a Christmas tree at the foot of a sweeping staircase and a garlanded dining room set for a feast.
Robert had provided three or four flat, hand drawn sketches of his concepts. Our job was to turn these into miniature 3D worlds within each window.
Firstly I built cardboard templates of the different vitrine types to give a working stage, then scaled the drawings up with ruler and tape measure. Using the scaled-up views I created a square template for each of the individual elements in each room – every chair, pile of books, the chandelier and so on – and stood them up in the space to get a feel for perspective. Then I hacked bits of off them – bent them, recut them – until it felt right.
The designer and client were happy with these so stage two was to add the retail elements. I photo-shopped the drawings into the rooms and we added various jewellery forms – a trial and error process balancing the overall look with the need to show particular products.
De Beers has been using a blue and white theme since the relaunch of its Aria collection earlier in the year and we continued this, using blue and black lines on white, with blocks of blue to draw them together.
One challenge of the design was hanging elements within the showcases – the garlands and chandelier – and I discovered suction cups were the answer. We also had to tweak the designs to make sure nothing was blocking the logos, and cut elements off to squeeze in a few more pieces of jewellery.
But the most challenging part? It was the packing. All the elements – sometimes more than 15 different pieces for any one window – have to be packed to withstand a FedEx van, and aeroplane and eager unpackers at any of the 34 different stores they go to. Each of the displays needs to be assembled by store staff when it arrives – we provide instructions and the pieces are magnetically attached together. There are three different designs and 12 different configurations depending on the colour. Some stores have unusual shaped windows and need a bespoke display.
Sometimes the most important tool in my arsenal is an Excel Spreadsheet.
Photos of Viv and the team building the De Beers Christmas windows can be found on our Facebook page