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Piecing together the Jigsaw brand

Written by Roma Publications


Founded by John Robinson, Jigsaw is a British retailer specialising in womenswear, menswear and a stunning selection of homeware.

Jigsaw opened its first store in Hampstead in 1972 and has since expanded across the UK and overseas, with stores in South Africa, Australia and the United States.

Keen to keep the Jigsaw brand at the forefront of the retail sector, Jigsaw has recently opened a number of new stores in the UK, including its latest store in Aberdeen. Covering an area of 1600 sq ft, the new store – which opened in July 2015 – is located in Bon Accord Shopping Centre and showcases a beautiful collection of womenswear and accessories.

Work began on Jigsaw Aberdeen in June 2015 and reached completion in July. gpstudio was the design consultancy practice on the project.


gpstudio is a leading international retail design consultancy, specialising in brand strategy, retail architecture, interior, graphic and lighting design. Founded in 2004, by Gregor Jackson, gpstudio works with leading brands, including and John Lewis and has been working with Jigsaw to develop concepts for a number of new Jigsaw stores.

Speaking to Premier Retail, Gregor Jackson, Founder and Partner at gpstudio, said:

“We specialise in the retail arena, but across all the touchpoints of retail design, from front end strategy and brand identity through to interior architecture and more. A lot of our work tends to focus on high-end projects, and around 60% of our work taking place internationally at the moment.

“We first started working with Jigsaw around a year and a half ago. We knew Jigsaw CEO Peter Ruis from an association with John Lewis and that is what began our partnership.


“One of Peter’s strategies for Jigsaw is to look at the brand’s place within a shopping mall setting, bringing the concept to what can often be a fixed space. So we were tasked with the role of bringing the essence of Jigsaw to shopping mall sites, with projects in Milton Keynes, Manchester and then the most recent site, Aberdeen.”

Gregor added:

“We look at each store individually, rather than approach them with a cookie cutter design. Each project is viewed from a creative stance, allowing us to then almost overlay Jigsaw’s product on to the store once we have the right design. We also like to take on board the personality of the town or city, so that we can tailor the store to its surroundings.”

For Jigsaw Aberdeen, gpstudio took design inspiration from the city’s nickname, The Granite City, by creating a granite feature wall, complete with a changeable wall system detailed into the stone. Meanwhile, a curved plywood cash desk creates a focal point in the centre of the store, giving the impression of a modern bar as opposed to a traditional square cash desk. This modern feature is cleverly juxtaposed with parquet flooring, which ensures the modern features of the store remain firmly grounded in a classic base.


Additional design highlights include floating fixtures and mid-floor units, along with black and white art prints and floating ceiling rafts. The rafts help define areas within the store and allow customers to see glimpses of the classic 1960s coffered concrete ceilings above.

Discussing the importance of the project, Gregor said:

“We like working with progressive brands and we want to work with company’s who see us as an extension of their Board and Project team. Working with likeminded businesses who want to make change, is stimulating and rewarding for us.”

Barbour Fit Out was the main contractor on the project, working alongside Project Manager Gary Phillips. Barbour Fit Out is a leading and experienced fit-out contractor, with a portfolio of projects that include the likes of Beaverbrooks, Fossil, Remus, New Look and Next, amongst others.


Speaking to Premier Retail about working on projects like Jigsaw Aberdeen, Scott MacLeod, Contracts Director for Barbour, said:

“Bespoke fit-outs of this nature, encompassing numerous finishes and materials, watching our specialised setting-out department work closely with the designers to meet client expectations, is greatly rewarding.

“The hands on and immediate decision making approach from Jigsaw’s Project Manager Gary Phillips, allowed Barbours to complete a challenging fit-out programme.”

Scott added:

“Jigsaw Aberdeen was a very satisfying project, which utilised the in-house skills of our setting-out department, our manufacturing base in Glasgow, our on-site teams, a range of specialist subcontractors and the project management team.

“The store has brought a new shopping experience to Aberdeen, as well as employment opportunities for local people.”


Jigsaw Aberdeen is open from 9am until 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and until 8pm on Thursday. On Sunday, Jigsaw Aberdeen is open from 11am until 5pm.

For more information about Jigsaw, please visit:


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