every year for the past five years, we've carried out a spring merchandising contest with our beloved retailers. we love seeing the fresh takes on kai displays in stores and spas across the country. with tons of creative and inspiring entries, we always need our "fans" to help us pick the winner, and, well, the stunning display from barneys new york knocked it out of the park this year. along with bragging rights and kai goodies, we decided to do a blog on the winning account. so without further ado, we're shining the spotlight on barneys by interviewing brandon z. owens, senior visual display and the mind behind the masterpiece! thank you to all who entered!
having grown up in a small town in north carolina, i moved to nyc in 2007 after graduating from the university of north carolina school of the arts with my bfa in production design. i quickly realized my love of design and storytelling could be utilized in transforming visual store displays, product presentation and windows. taking me from the bergdorf goodman window displays right into barneys new york. after 9 years in the fashion industry, my passion for design, art and visual display still remain. i believe it is a form of art to create an environment for people to shop. what i enjoy most are the details and the collaborative process involved with creating works of art, which i am able to do as senior visual display at barneys new york.
what was your inspiration for the kai display?
from a young age, i have always been obsessed with the beach and the beauty of palm trees. that's my happy place. for me, that place is full of memories, has a sort of spiritual healing power and provides me inspiration for the future. kai has found a way to instantly transport me to that happy place.
my goal for this display was to guide your eye to a sexy, yet romantic story of the beach. a perfect beach house cast in shadows from the twilight following sunset, with the sound of waves crashing as my inspiration. that to me had a black modern feeling but with a white, airy energy. i wanted the product to speak for itself while having sand and vintage art glass provide hints of this perfect home.
explain the process of designing a compelling display.
i start by researching the product to better understand its history and the brand's narrative, to me that's the essence of the story. from there i develop a color palette which leads me to a sketch concept to fit the display space in the store. part of this process involves shape shopping because i think it's important to have elements that create both height and balance.
favorite kai product every new yorker should own?
every new yorker should own the kai home reed diffuser (and oh, let's say at least a dozen candles, lol). no one can own too many candles! candles set the mood for any apartment and scent captures a lifestyle.
more info on the life of brandon z. owens through images: instagram @bzachary84.
thank you, brandon!
p.s. we love brandon's creativity in repurposing the kai nightlight as a planter for his bamboo. brilliant!