Situated on the unassuming Devonshire Road high street in Chiswick, Evans & Peel Pharmacy sits awaiting customer’s “medical problems’, as they take a pioneering role in a new wave of experiential bar and dining establishments. Designed with the customer experience as a focal point, the entrance of the venue is a high-quality recreation of a 1920s pharmacy, purpose themed to conceal a rowdy bar styled on a US prohibition-era speakeasy. This creative reference to the secrecy of the US prohibition-era during the 1920s plays a far bigger part of the theme than one may initially realise, with privacy as a high priority, discretion and misdirection are an integral part of the customer experience.
From the outside, customers are greeted by an inconspicuous vintage pharmacy façade veiled in mystery with its frosted windows. Only these are not normal “frosted windows’. Utilising switchable glass technology, Evans & Peel Pharmacy can create a window display effect that allows them to control their privacy, switching the glass from frosted to clear at a simple press of a button. This incredible cocktail of design creativity is highly visual, creating a stark contrast between the solid block of frosted glass and the high-quality mock interior, unveiling the vintage shelves, various bottles of tonic and old-fashioned medical equipment.
Sure enough, to grab the attention of most passers-by, the entrance serves as much as a window display as it forms part of the experience, remaining clear to encourage customers in until the script calls for that extra level of privacy. The experience works by enticing customers into the pharmacy. Once they have entered, they are greeted by a “pharmacist’, a charismatic actor who improvises a routine based on the customer(s) “needs’. Present parties then engage in a pretend verbal examination, where the “pharmacist’ quizzes the customer on what medical issue has brought them there, and are then “prescribed’ an experience in their establishment, which offers “a select tonic or restorative tincture for even the most extreme afflictions.’ During this process, the customers are treated to the height of privacy using switchable technology from Intelligent Glass.
Specified by Chris Peel of Evans & Peel, Intelligent Glass offered a perfect solution to his vision in the form of self-adhesive switchable film, allowing them to install switchable technology on a retrofit basis to his existing windows. Switchable film’s privacy is activated using electricity by passing a charge through the film’s PDLC layer which polarises the enclosed crystals to allow visibility. This means that switchable glass in its native form is frosted and a big advantage of this, especially in a privacy application such as Evans & Peel’s Pharmacy, is that the venue can maintain their privacy overnight without drawing power.
Using self-adhesive switchable film also offers Evans & Peel a chance to use their windows as large rear projection screens at will, serving as effective digital signage as well as an experiential privacy solution. When the screen is switched off, the Pharmacy could utilise a projector inside the venue, projecting chosen content onto the windows for passers-by to see. Particularly useful during times of high foot traffic, this could help to advertise special events and special offers to passers-by who might not have looked otherwise, especially if discretion is a cornerstone of the venue’s theme. A switchable rear projection screen may help turn foot traffic into footfall, offering a great opportunity for stores on high streets or in busy areas.