The Design Solution puts Irish Whiskey in the spotlight at Dublin Airport


Irish whiskey is the top-selling product category at Dublin airport and takes pride of place in Terminal 1’s new €8m The Loop walk-through shopping area, which operates 21,000sq ft retail space.

London-based airport specialist retail design practice The Design Solution, working closely with ARI, created the retail design concept and delivery for the new Irish Whiskey Collection outlet at the heart of Terminal 1’s new 21,000sq ft retail offer. The store is run by Aer Rianta International (ARI) a wholly owned subsidiary of Dublin Airport Authority.

Using research based on the shopping needs of both Irish and international travellers, The Design Solution developed a stunning and easy-to-shop store which stocks 371 whiskies from 15 different countries. This includes 121 Irish whiskeys, 191 scotch whiskies, 32 American & 31 world whiskies from countries such as Finland (Teerenpeli), India (Amrut), Taiwan (Kavalan), Australia (Hellyers Road), Holland, Sweden and New Zealand (Doublewood). There is also six stand-alone glorifiers housing limited edition high-end whiskeys from €3,000 to €6,000.

There are five personalized units within the store. The highlights being the unusual quirky bath tub display for Hendricks Gin which ties in with their brand heritage.

Suspended above the centre of the store’s circular tasting bar is an eye-catching, curved copper sculpture created by Irish artist Shane Holland, who took his inspiration from the copper pot stills used in the Irish whiskey industry, and informed by the original Design Solution conceptual design.

Reflecting the growing importance of wine to travel retail, The Loop also boasts a completely new concept: The Wine Goose Chase. This shop features a selection of over 70 wines from France, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and the US, all of which have an Irish provenance. Only stocking wines with an Irish heritage, the new wine selection is ideal for travellers looking for a present for friends and family abroad.

Retail operator Aer Rianta forecasts the new look liquor offer at Terminal 1 will significantly contribute to an uplift in sales.

Kevin Patience, The Design Solution creative director, said: “This was a fantastic project to work as we were able to create an epicenter bringing the feeling of a bar to the heart of the buzz in this popular store.  With a stunning emperado marble surface, the bar is also a functional piece of furniture which makes the most of the space – always a scarce commodity in airport stores. We took the original design we had created in Terminal 2 in 2010 which features extensive copper and contemporized that heritage in a luxury solution that makes it easy for shoppers to explore and navigate the category.

The materials evoke the contemporary masculinity of a gentleman’s club – with polished copper framing to wallbays allowing the brands to sing out, back painted black glass at high level and amber back-illuminated acrylic which brings a glowing amber tone through all the store furniture to play on the tones from the whiskey. The client brief required that primary elements of the established and very  successful brand be maintained, but to evolve materials and the main focal point to offer customers a contemporary and modern iteration of the Irish Whiskey Collection concept.The exposed ceilings are painted out in black to create an intimate atmosphere.

The Design Solution is a London based retail design practice with a strong specialism in the $62bn travel retail industry – with 25 years’ experience in developing world class retail solutions for airports, rail, motorways and other retail destinations all over the world together with compelling merchandising and experiential designs for brands.  Recent airport duty free projects include The Nuance Group walk-through stores in Pulkovo Airport, Saint Petersburg and at Athens Airport as well as the duty and tax free shops in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson Airport.