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Treat, JKF International Airport, Class of 2021 Store of the Year

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Treat is the Retail Design Institute’s 2021 Store of the Year. Treat is a new concept from XpresSpa Group (New York) focused on travel, health, and wellness. It was designed in collaboration with Design Well Spent Company (Seattle).

“We congratulate the Treat team on their impressive win,” Ehscheid commented. The first 1186-sq.-ft. location opened in JFK International. The Design Well Spent team solved a number of business issues for XpresSpa Group, which was forced to pivot its business model of airport-based spa treatments due to the pandemic. In accepting the Store of the Year award, Tobi Wray, founder of Design Well Spent Co., detailed the story behind design and construction of the small space.

Customers can shop travel essentials, schedule health services like travel anxiety care, or book wellness rooms for yoga, fitness, or meditation. The physical retail experience is connected to the Treat app where members have access to 24/7 medical care, their health passport, travel/health/wellness resources and blogs, and an online retail experience.

The Design Well Spent team’s challenge for developing the new Treat concept was figuring out the best way to combine retail space with treatment/wellness rooms – all in a very tight space – and with scalability in mind.

The material palette is layered, textured and warm with the use of tiles, plaster-look wallcoverings, fabrics, and colors like rose beige, brown, and bronze – a beacon of warmth in contrast to surrounding retail. A menu of services placed front-and-center lets customers know at-a-glance what the store is about. Interactive digital screens make check in easy. Sound, scent and lighting also play a role in achieving a calming, multi-sensory experience that makes patrons forget they’re at the airport.

The competition judges applauded the warm color and materials palette and cohesive fixture design as key to creating a customer experience that is both relaxing and healing. They noted the consistent concept execution from front of house to back of house. (Ari Burling Photography, New York City)

In addition to its distinction as 2021 Store of the Year, judges also bestowed an Innovation Award on Treat for Concept Design. You can see the entire awards presentation here.

Serving as judges this year we members of the Institute including Jeremiah Albrecht, RDI, creative director, Chandler Inc. (Twin Cities Chapter); James Farnell, CID, FRDI, IIDA, MCSD, NCIDQ, partner and retail practice leader, Little (Southern California Chapter); George R. Homer, Jr., FRDI, ceo, GH& Associates (Brazil Chapter); Jim Kelly, RDI, senior design manager, Macy’s (Ohio Chapter); Mardi Najafi, RDI, vice president, retail strategy and design, Figure 3 (Canada Chapter); Tobias Harris Wangsadihardja, RDI. principal and chief creative officer, TDC and Levine+Harris (New York Chapter); And Tracy Zaslow, FRDI, LEED AP I+DC, director of design and construction, Luxury Brand Holdings (New England Chapter).


In addition to Treat, the Class of 2021 includes:

Bloomie’s, Fairfield, Va.

NELSON Worldwide and Macy’s

Innovation Award: Concept Design

CDF Macau, Cotai

NELSON Worldwide and China Duty Free Group

Citi, New York City

Gensler, New York and Citi

Innovation Award: Architecture

Empório Santa Maria, São Paulo

Espaçonovo Projetos de Arquitetura S/S Ltda

FIKA Herbal Goods, Toronto

GH&A Design Studio, Montreal

Innovation Award: Visual Merchandising

Grand Central Mimico, Etobicoke

Figure3, Toronto

House of Rituals, Body & Mind Spa, Amsterdam

Rituals Cosmetics in-house team

Innovation Award: Brand Activation

The Hyundai Seoul, Seoul

Burdifilek, Toronto

Johnnie Walker, Edinburgh

Dalziel & Pow, London

M&M’s, Berlin

Landor & Fitch, New York City

Innovation: Customer Journey

MAPCO, Sevierville, Tenn.

Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, Ohio

Madison Décor Studio, North York

dkstudio architects inc., Toronto

NHL, New York City

TPG Architecture, New York City

Puma, New York City

EWI Worldwide, Dearborn, Mich.

Todd Snyder, New York City

AEO, Pittsburgh

Innovation Award: Fixturing

St. Marche, São Paulo

Espaçonovo Projetos de Arquitetura S/S Ltda, São Paulo

Shinsegae Art Science, Daejeon

Jeffrey Hutchison and Associates, New York City

Innovation Award: Architecture

Wilson, New York City

Bergmeyer Associates, Boston

Innovation Award: Concept Design

The 51st International Design Awards was sponsored by Little, BHDP Architecture, Cadan Photography and IA, Interior Architects.


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