Chas Clarkson’s “A Summer Christmas of Wonderment” decoration program was a luxurious in-centre experiential garden-scape concept for QIC Shopping Centres. It was designed to be dazzling and grand, adorned with contemporary Christmas regalia – a summertime wonderland of festive design created to engage and imbue visiting shoppers of all ages with the spirit of a QIC Christmas.
The QIC retail landscapes were transformed into Christmas destinations of intrigue and breath-taking beauty, coloured in a majestic palette of gold, pearl and rich green. Signature Christmas trees and wreaths with a plume-like foliage announced the entrances and corridors. Gigantic suspended presents and starlight-tree installations floated through the impressive, vast centre voids. The ceilings of the brilliant white arcades and walkways were lined with ribboned pillow-like statement pieces, while the plazas were peppered with photo opportunities, gift-wrapping and craft pavilions. The highlight of the QIC Christmas Experience was Santa’s Enchanted Forest, home to the Nutcracker ballerinas, golden reindeer and Santa himself.
In 2018, QIC Shopping Centres announced the need to reimagine their Christmas decoration program. After extensive customer research, spearheaded by Eastland Shopping Centre, it was established that the current Christmas decoration program was perceived to be void of Christmas atmosphere and spirit, with very little design consistency across the various elements of the installations.
QIC’s “Re-imagine Christmas” brief was issued in February 2018, outlining the desire for a decoration program which would have the right balance between traditional and contemporary and would inspire their customers to connect – a Christmas installation that would be innovative, interactive, distinctive and meaningful. The installations had to have family appeal, be fit for purpose and remain relevant for a minimum of 5 years.
QIC Centres needed to deliver a Christmas retail marketing program of aspiration and calibre that would engage their affluent “middle family” customers and be aligned with their luxury brand tenants’ market positioning.
Chas Clarkson’s “A Summer Christmas of Wonderment” decoration program established a new and luxurious Christmas decoration product offering within the Australian retail market place.
The Chas Clarkson Design and Production Teams revisited traditional design methodologies, materials, manufacturing processes, supplier networks and finishing techniques in order to achieve a unique and elevated decoration program.
The project had multiple setbacks and roadblocks in the prototyping phase of the design process due to the sophisticated and high-end nature of the materials. The development and usage of a new plume-like foliage, significant changes in the manufacturing process and supplier network as a result of the new product innovation, as well as the sheer size of the void decoration pieces, added to the list of challenges.
The program timeline to deliver an ambitious program of this calibre from concept to installation was incredibly short. With only 8 months to deliver the entire program across multiple QIC centres, an unprecedented 5 months was dedicated to the design, development and prototyping phases. This left only 3 months for manufacturing, transportation, delivery and installation.
Chas Clarkson’s “A Summer Christmas of Wonderment” was the most design-intensive project that we had ever delivered at the time. So it was all the more rewarding for us to be judged a Silver Award winner in the Sydney Design Awards the following year.
The result for our client was undeniable success. Once the decoration suite was in place, bespoke activity zones became Christmas beacons – launch pads for numerous festive activations that were frequented en masse by local communities. And Santa’s Enchanted Forest experiences drove unprecedented traffic and sales for family Christmas photos.