Amazon tackles interior design: House in a Box lands at Milan Design Week 2019 – Interview behind the scenes

Amazon Headquarter _ Milan _ Interior Design _ Interview 2

The online giant goes physical once again, this time approaching the furniture & home sector.

Let’s say you are the world’s greatest commerce platform, you’ve just launched two new interior collections, you have a brand new office in central Milan and next week is Milan Design Week.

What would you do?

Easy, you open up your office and turn it into an open showroom event.

This is Amazon House in a Box, and we’re going in.

To present the Alkove and Movian original collections, Amazon’s headquarters welcome visitors in two contemporary apartments designed by Milan based architecture practice AMA Albera Monti Architetti, who included some optical illusion installations in the exhibition too.

Physical turning digital and vice versa, we cannot tell where the boundary is anymore and we like it like that.

Amazon House in a Box will have you trying an augmented reality shopping experience and a new personalised suggestions system for interior and home decor products.

The guest star will be the charming Alexa, featured in the whole line of smart home devices Echo.

Reconnecting the exhibition to the online platform, the Design Week gets a dedicated online store page on Amazon, presenting the home collections and all the interior products by partner companies participating to Amazon House in a Box.

Amazon Headquarter _ Milan _ Interior Design _ Interview _ Interior design
Amazon’s offices opened in the flourishing area of Porta Nuova in Milan in 2017, the project was developed by GBPA Architects

We had the pleasure to talk to Sara Mojdehi, Category Leader Home at Amazon.it and Amazon.es, and gain some insights on Amazon’s approach to furniture products and their participation to the world’s leading design event.

Is Amazon’s interior offering targeting a specific segment or a wider range?

Our offering is broad and aiming to serve the needs of all of our clients.

The selection of furniture and home accessories on Amazon.it is very wide, a combination of renowned brands and small ones, with a large range of sizes, colours, finishes and prices.

We recently launched Movian and Alkove, two brands specifically for the Italian market featuring furniture pieces for each room of the house.

Completing this large selection, we also offer home automation solutions for lighting, the Echo devices and products integrated with Alexa.

All this combined will bring to life House in a Box, two contemporary apartments featuring many different products, all available on Amazon.it.

Alkove, divano decorativo modello Andre _ Interior _ House in a box _ Milan design Week _ Interior design
Andre Sofa from Amazon’s furniture brand Alkove

Which kind of products sell best on Amazon.it?

We sell a lot of mattresses and beds, office chairs (including ergonomic ones), gaming chairs and tables, mostly extensible ones, console tables and chairs.

Beyond the product itself, which services and benefits does Amazon offer to consumers?

We offer a range of services to make the shopping experience intuitive, quick and entertaining, from the browsing phase, to the final choice and then delivery.

Convenience and speed of delivery are crucial for the shopping experience of furniture and home products.

This is why we recently added a new service for the delivery of large products: customers in Milan (and soon in the rest of Italy) can now schedule a date and time for delivery to receive the purchase at home, right in the room of the house they prefer.

At House in a Box, visitors will also get the chance to try our services supporting the browsing phases, such as Amazon Augmented Reality, that visualizes a product in your living room through the smartphone, Amazon 360 Spin, showing a 360° view of a product, and Discover, a recommendation system with personalised suggestions.

All the products featured in House in a Box will be available for purchase on a special online store, dedicated to Design Week: Amazon.it/Designweek .

House in a Box will feature many different products, which companies participate in the exhibition?

House in a Box is curated and designed by architecture studio Albera Monti & Associati, in collaboration with different brands:

  • Huawei
  • Lavazza
  • Alessi
  • Argoclima
  • Baldiflex
  • Bticino
  • Candy Hoover Group
  • Ecovacs
  • Moleskine
  • Moulinex
  • Rowenta
  • Philips Hue
  • Samsung

Not just furniture and interior brands but also home accessories and objects that we use in our daily life.

A large selection to address the needs of all of our clients, representing the offering available on Amazon.it.

Smart home device Echo Show, just released on the italian market, featuring a 10” HD screen, a 5 MP camera, Dolby audio and Alexa digital assistant
Smart home device Echo Show, just released on the italian market, featuring a 10” HD screen, a 5 MP camera, Dolby audio and Alexa digital assistant

Speaking of home automation, what trends do you observe nowadays?

The introduction of voice based service like Alexa definitely opened many opportunities to easily adopt a home automation device in our homes.

Alexa and products of the Echo let us to control a wide range of devices for smart home just using our voice, such as the Philips Hue lamps.

The Echo Plus and Echo Show also feature an integrated Zigbee hub, which automatically finds and connects compatible lights, plugs and switches, with no need of additional hubs or apps for configuration.

What guidelines should designers and producers follow to make their products available on Amazon?

The requirements are really simple: they must be original products, complying to safety norms and with proper packaging to protect the objects during shipping.

On our mission to offer the widest possible offer to our clients, according to their taste and budget, Amazon offers popular interior pieces from big brands, but also products by artisans and small local manufacturers, which use Amazon to reach clients in all parts of Europe.

We recently saw Amazon’s Xmas temporary shop in Milan. Considering the omni-channel retail trends these days, are you planning some initiatives for your interior lines?

Our constant attention to the client’s needs makes us experiment with new ideas and projects, to build and deliver truly unique experiences by Amazon.

The Xmas Pop Up store was the first experiment of this kind in Italy: our clients enjoyed the chance to discover the main Xmas products by Amazon.

Following such excitement we decided to participate to Milan Design Week with House in a Box in order to meet our clients physically, to surprise them and get them to discover in first person the world of Amazon.

Design Week is a crucial event for Milan and on a worldwide scale, and for us Milan is a really important city, as it has been hosting our italian headquarters for the past 6 years.

We want to participate in this event with something tangible and open to all visitors.

Amazon Echo Spot, powered by Alexa to show news, weather forecast and images _ Interior Design
Amazon Echo Spot, powered by Alexa to show news, weather forecast and images

What kind of functionality does Amazon offer to respond to current trends in modern commerce?

Our efforts towards innovation for our clients are nonstop, we want them to find the best solution for all of their needs, and we do this, for instance, with the voice service Alexa, machine learning systems and augmented reality services.

We invite you to visit House in a Box and try in first person the innovative services offered by Amazon to shop interior products.

Make sure to visit Amazon House in a Box during this year’s Milan Design Week to explore the interior collections and dive in an innovative shopping experience.

Do not miss the optical illusion installations too!

See you at Amazon Headquarters in Milan, Viale Monte Grappa 3 from the 11th to the 13th of April 2019.

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