Have you ever walked in to a shop on a whim just to have a browse and then become totally overwhelmed that you can't actually process anything and just walk around in circles? While in Budapest I encountered such a phenomenon in a little store called Philanthia. Philanthia was like jumping down the rabbit hole, literally. The only way I can describe this store is with photographs as there was just so much to absorb and I couldn't possibly attempt to describe all the little details that make this store so fabulous. Philanthia is a essentially a florist/ gift shop located within a beautiful art noveau building on the main tourist street in Budapest. The front section is the florist shop and leads in to a small hallway then opens up in to another world. At the time of my visit Easter was approaching and the store was merchandised with all Easter associated products, however the store had an Alice in Wonderland theme and they certainly embraced this in their merchandising!
One of the things I loved about Philanthia was the way they maximised space within the store. Using the drawers of cupboards and dressers as little peek a boo treasure spots was delightful and an effective way to place large amounts of merchandise on the shop floor. If it's not on the selling floor it won't sell!
The store embrace their theme from head to toe and create a fantasy world by using props such as this tilted table and wooden ladders. Each of these elements enabled the store you creatively display products and fill gaps such as under the able with wicker baskets full of toys. Even the steps on the display ladder held little frog princes.
The use of large scale rabbits enhance the theme of Alice in Wonderland and give customers the sense they are actually within a story book. Lighting was everywhere within the store too such as the large steel lamp or the delicate tea pot and tea cup lamp below.
I was enamoured with the idea of using a large gilt frame and attaching a wooden backing with shelves to the frame. Such a creative way to display products, on top of the frame too. I will definitely be using this idea in my own house!
In keeping with maximising the space within the shop, Philanthia attached a form of grill to the ceiling and concealed it by decorating in the Easter theme.
As I was browsing a staff member approached me and offered me a basket. I've worked in various types of retail stores and most recently a luxury brand. As apart of our image as a luxury brand we always offered customers a basket to help with their shopping. I was really impressed that a small store ensured their customers received the same treatment as a luxury brand.
This is the entrance to the back of the store from a small hallway. Just looking at the photograph tell you everything about how carried away in this store I was. It was breathtaking! Can you see the three silver barked trunks to the left? The trunk filled with goodies at the bottom left of the photograph? If you look in the centre of the photograph you can also see the glass roof built to mimic an outdoor terrace.
All photos taken by me
After all these photos I still wasn't satisfied that I had captured the tranquility or beauty of the store and taped a small section of the store. The quality on my iphone is great however I'm really disappointed it's not quite clear on the video below. Still take a look and make sure you have your volume turned up, even if that's all you watch it for you will be as amazed and surprised as I was, I'm sure.