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The retail transformation at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is a powerful demonstration of how regional airports can adopt local themes to develop a unique and authentic ‘sense of place’, according to The Design Solution.

The holistic design programme at Toulouse-Blagnac includes the enlargement, reconfiguration and refurbishment of the airport’s commercial areas across a total of 1,800sqm of retail space, principally focused on a new walkthrough 1,700sqm duty free store operated by leading retailer Dufry.


Having worked successfully with Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in creating a strong commercial plan, the London-based consultancy was subsequently appointed by Dufry to design the main duty free shop.

The commercial plan formulated a new retail layout, facilitated by the construction of a new security area, the conversion of an existing check in area to form the new duty free shop and the transformation of the old duty free shops into a new retail area.

A pink-tinted retail journey through Toulouse…

It claims that the expression for the main duty free store presents a multi-paced retail experience that offers instore category destinations tailored to each key customer profile while dynamic designs convey the stories of a historic city that effortlessly blends old and new – from its architectural heritage to its leading role in the aerospace industry as the ‘home’ of Airbus.

Complementing this, it adds, is the characterful mood of the city’s streets, especially the bustling street markets, sharing the stories of Toulouse throughout the shopper journey.


The store has a central island heart that anchors the Liquor and Food categories. Radiating from this are P&C/Beauty and Local Food & Wine, giving passengers attractive vistas to each side of the main walkway.

Category adjacencies have been finely tuned to maximise footfall, dwell time and penetration.

The city’s familiar soft tones of dusty pink and terracotta are subtly echoed across the space, creating modern counterpoints to the backdrop of traditionally styled timber wall-panelling that reflect the classic grandeur of the city’s architectural heritage.

In Liquor, for example, the panelling in opulent golden tones projects a mood of luxury while a modern edge is inserted by the contemporary design of the humidor, featuring rose-toned glass that complements the classically-styled walls.  


Local products are prominent across the categories but particularly in the vibrant ‘Terre d’Occitanie’ space where local specialities are celebrated, including cheese, foie gras, olive oils, wine and confectionery.

Natural wood tones dominate the space, including the dramatic back wall seemingly made of traditional wine boxes, celebrating the region’s great wines. A classic Citroen van adds a stylish touch of fun and instore theatre.

It notes that the :elegant centrepiece” of the P&C zone is the Fragrance Garden, celebrating the region’s natural beauty and the city’s love of gardens and flowers.

Two rose gold-framed room dividers create a stylish backdrop to the space and host a series of merchandising niches personalised by local brands. Artificial box hedging and grass on the floor colourfully extend the garden imagery, adding colour, shape and texture.


It believes that the use of local woods throughout the store reflects the region’s natural beauty, including ceiling spaces formed with timber louvers, with lighting between, creates the feeling of an outdoor space.

While street-style chalkboards and decorative canvas awnings project off the walls, are said to create informal branding and signage spaces and classic typography, commonly used across the city, is used to list products and the latest offers and promotions.

The walkthrough store also incorporates a number of specialist product zones targeting customer profiles, including a Kids’ Zone, a strong digital focus in the ‘Contentainment’ area and a performance space to add to the lively street market mood. 


Nick Taylor, director, The Design Solution, says: “This exciting development at Toulouse-Blagnac perfectly blends commercial imperatives and innovative design ambitions.

“Dufry’s retail planning meticulously aligns the commercial offer to the needs of the passenger profile and The Design Solution’s interior design supports this ethos to drive a unique experience for the customer and an optimally effective commercial space for the retailer and the airport.

“I see Toulouse-Blagnac as part of a pioneering wave of ambitious regional and relatively smaller airports committed to matching any major hub in expressing a unique local personality for their airport.”


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