Staff Devices & Dressing Rooms for Prada

Information architecture for Prada

In December 2001 the Italian haute couturier Prada opened its groundbreaking new “epicenter” store in New York City, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. IDEO, working with Koolhaas and his architecture and research firm OMA/AMO, created the invisible technology that allows Prada staff members to choreograph the in-store sales experience. IDEO Human Factors specialists interviewed store staff and observed the technology currently in use. The results of this research were incorporated into the design of the store’s information architecture, as well as the interactive dressing rooms and the in-store devices that allow the staff to focus completely on the customers, such as the Staff Device, the Recharging Trolley, the Staff Clip, and the Customer Card.

The interactive dressing rooms augment the experience of trying on clothes for the customer and enhances the relationship between the sales assistant and the customer. It is presented as a simple eight-foot-square glass booth. One wall forms the door, which the customer can make opaque for privacy during changing or clear to show off a garment to someone outside the booth. Another wall incorporates a “magic mirror,” a camera and display that adds a four-second delay so the customer can spin around and view all sides of the garment. The opposite wall has two interactive closets, one for hanging clothes and one with shelves. Sensors in the closets detect the electronic tags on store items and trigger a touch screen that displays the item and its related information, from availability to permutations of color, fabric, and size.

The Staff Device enables sales assistants to devote all their attention to customers and frees them from trips to the back room or to the computer. It is partly made of translucent polyurethane so that the staff members need not treat it too delicately. The device scans staff tags and customer cards, allows inventory checks, reserves dressing rooms, acts as a remote control to access information on the store’s ubiquitous screens, has a laser pointer, and allows stock to be ordered and delivered. See IDEO’s web feature on the Prada project.

Project date: 2000