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Ultra Diamonds Sparkles

Ultra Diamonds has unveiled a contemporary prototype that provides the ideal home for its sparkling merchandise. The design showcases the breadth and diversity of the jewelry retailer’s assortment, while putting a stylish new spin on the space.


“It also makes the environment more inviting and accessible,” said Gordon Eason, creative director, JGA, Southfield, Mich. 


The design made its premier in Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, Central Valley, N.Y., in a remodel of an existing Ultra Diamonds store. It has since been rolled out in three additional locations. 


“It is our new prototype, and our plans are to continue to roll it out,” said Kris Land, chief marketing office, Ultra Diamonds, Chicago, which operates 155 stores nationwide. “It has exceeded our expectations, and we are very pleased.” 


Sleek, streamlined fixturing and unexpected decor accents give the 1,917-sq.-ft. store an updated feel and modern edge. Key to the new format: a series of large, 360-degree walk-around cases. The cases allow for a high degree of visibility and the opportunity to showcase collections or categories, while breaking down the standard selling model. 


“The cases also provide a ‘side-by-side’ selling opportunity, meaning that when a customer is shopping, the associate is standing next to her, as opposed to across a counter,” Eason said. 


The walk-around cases, which are illuminated with LEDs, help minimize the sense of enclosure and give a feeling of openness to the overall store.


In the central space, a long showcase acts as a checkout and service area, and provides associates with a 360-degree of customers. 


“With this layout, the associates are never far from the customers,” Eason said. 


The showcase also offers a more traditional jewelry-buying situation. It has a contemporary design with alcoves and peninsulas that allow for focused category presentations. 


“The showcase is asymmetrical. It goes in and out,” Eason explained. 


A utility rail, located a couple of feet down the ceiling, runs around the perimeter of the store. Oversized graphics and illuminated vertical display cases hang from the stainless steel bar. 


“With the bar, things can be moved and shifted very easily,” Eason added.


Lighting: Overscaled, hanging light fixtures are used to highlight the walk-around cases. Suspended glistening rods over the center showcase add sparkle to the texture of the environment. 


“LEDs are the primary lighting solution and used in all the showcases,” Eason said. “It is excellent lighting for diamond illumination.”


Secondary lighting is also very important in jewelry stores. For simplicity and ease of installation, the design team used track lighting with ceramic metal halide lamps. The tracks are positioned above the showcases. The general illumination was kept to a minimum to enhance the drama.


“The overall effect is really good,” Eason said. “The brightness is exactly where we wanted it to be.” 


The store has a warm neutral palette that is made up of light and dark shades. Carpeting adds to the inviting feel. It is also used as a decor element, with contrasting squares in a lighter color positioned under the decorative legs on some of the fixtures. 


The fixtures are fabricated with plastic laminate in wood-like grains, in both a silver-wood hue and ebony-wood hue. 


The new prototype respects Woodbury Common’s tight criteria with regard to exteriors. The store has a series of bump-out display windows that the designers accented with a frieze band that identifies the different brands and merchandise housed within. Improved lighting adds drama. 


“We were able to execute more of a visual presentation in the windows, creating backdrops that support the story inside,” Eason said.


mwilson@chainstoreage.com

© 2014