With its modular shop systems, MHZ assists its retail customers with displaying and selling MHZ products in their stores. Using these systems, the retailer can gear their store to the MHZ products in a customised way and convey to consumers a home-like atmosphere.
Ute Gohla-Siemers has been an interior designer at MHZ for over 30 years. Her responsibilities include the design and development of the MHZ shop systems, trade show stands and showrooms. She is responsible here in both technical and aesthetic respects for coming up with ideas for the different components and then having them made.
She talks here in this interview about her varied tasks at MHZ and the special features of the shop systems.
Mrs Gohla-Siemers, you have been an interior designer at MHZ since 1985. How do you go about developing the shop systems?
Developing a new feature generally starts with a little discovery, for example in the natural world or in architecture, which I record in my sketch book. I then keep going back to this collection, get inspiration from it and develop new ideas and concepts. Along with an external joiner, the presentation team and I then test out the technical feasibility of the ideas and how much they would cost. The next step is producing models. We use them to check whether the system is suitable for our products, as MHZ products have a lot of details that we need to take into account when developing a shop system.
Over the years, have there been changes in area of product displays?
During my time at MHZ, I've experienced a complete transformation from simple shop window decoration all the way to creating complete rooms. In October 1992, the Breuninger department store in Stuttgart put out a job out to competitive tender, which MHZ won. Our work in Stuttgart was well received and got the subject of product displays really moving. In 1994, we were then also commissioned by the Breuninger department store in Sindelfingen to create a technical system for their sales floor, which led to further jobs and triggered a real boom.
In 1995, for a bespoke customer planning tool we developed the idea of presenting our sunshade products on innovative sliding elements. This idea was a big hit and demand for these displays rose so rapidly that we could no longer cope with making the units to specification. From then on we concentrated more on developing modular shop systems.
What is the key factor when it comes to displaying MHZ products in store?
With our MHZ products, we are selling not only shade from the sun, but also atmosphere, a special mood and a lifestyle ambience. That is something that the consumer should be able to experience from the presentation of the products in store as well. With a harmonious colour concept, good size units, beautiful light and appropriate home elements, we provide a living world scenario that enables the retailer to structure the product sales process in an even more appealing and homely way.
The different shop systems require an amount of space that not every retailer has at their disposal. Does MHZ also offer options for presenting the products in an illustrative way in small shops too?
What is particularly well suited to small shop spaces is our ROBIN rolling tower. In its compact form it can be used anywhere and can display up to 8 sample products. As our shop system is modular, it is also possible to use individual elements on their own as display units.
What is important to you personally when it comes to designing the shop systems?
A clear and harmonious overall look is particularly important to me. But naturally it's about finding the ideal platform for presenting out products that enables us to show as much as possible without overloading it or disrupting the harmony of the overall look. That is something we achieved very well with our FINN table for giving customers product advice. A multitude of frames fitted with different sunshade exhibits that are taken out only as needed.
You give your work a personal touch and are firmly integrated into MHZ life. What do you personally like best about your work?
The variety, without a doubt. My work ranges from draft drawings, via designing displays, designing trade show stands and making models, all the way to providing customer advice. Every step of my work is to do with design. I also have a lot of contact with people, both internally and with external partners.
The work with our lovely products and the daily interaction with a fantastic team are, of course, also inspiring.