I don’t like to shop. I never have and expect I never will. But when I was five or six, I used to beg to go to one furniture store. It spanned all three floors of a converted Victorian home, with each room set up in vignettes. For me, it was like moving through a giant dollhouse, one where I could imagine a different life: the parties I’d have with my friends around that dining room table, the fun I’d have sleeping on the top bunk rather than in my twin bed, and how great my back would feel if we had  a big massaging recliner.

That marketing technique of appealing to fantasy and aspiration is commonplace now, but it was new to me then. Perhaps I’ve grown immune to it as I’ve aged—or just become more time-pressed and distracted. But retail continues to be about creating an alternate world. Presentation is key, with visual displays and messaging becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

In this issue, we examine how this plays out. The case study “Downtown Style” delves into how Saks Fifth Avenue’s latest New York store fashioned a more youthful image for the brand. The feature “Show-and-Tell” concentrates on trade showrooms and the ways they highlight the products for industry buyers.

Elsewhere, we look at advances in stairs and elevators as well as in storefronts and entrances (page 34). We also include the top 10 green building products for 2017 and a recap of the always provocative London Design Festival.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season.