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Sony Centre at Heathrow's Terminal 5 Flowers with ARCHICAD

AM Design UK (AM) created an innovative customer experience for Sony's flagship centre. 

AM is a retail fit-out and manufacturing company based in Hinckley, Leicestershire. "Retail interior design is no longer simple shelving systems," says Helen Morse, design department manager at AM. "Shop interiors are becoming far more sophisticated and architectural.  We need to have more control over our designs and we have to be able to explain their intricacies to the client. 3D design enables us to model the space and design the store with amazing accuracy."

AM's long running store design relationship with Sony has produced an unique design for the Terminal Five store, which has been made possible by the powerful communication abilities of ARCHICAD. "The T5 store is very different to any other," says AM's senior designer Julian Collinge. "Its design is based upon the idea of a technology garden - an experiential area where travellers can interact with products and get information on Sony's latest film and music releases, too."

Not instantly recognisable as a shop, the store's design uses elements such as a glass floor and technology trees, none of which is the norm in the regimented world of airport retail interiors.

"ARCHICAD's 3D capabilities enabled us to explain to both Sony and the British Airports Authority (BAA) that the design would look good and be of no danger to the public in an emergency," says Collinge. "We had to show that the stands wouldn't block sight lines; that the glass floor could be reconfigured easily; that the Sony Centre in London Heathrow T5 space would work visually, etc." The designs were approved on both aesthetic security/safety grounds.