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January 24, 2020

MG2 acquires pop-up designer, expands to NY

Photo provided by MG2/ The Lion’esque Group [enlarge]
The Lion’esque Group designed this Nordstrom service hub in New York City where customers can pick up online orders and have their clothes tailored.

MG2 of Seattle acquired The Lion'esque Group, a boutique New York-based retail firm focused on immersive pop-up stores.

In a press release about the deal, the architecture firm did not disclose its terms or provide the number of employees Lion'esque has.

The Lion'esque Group was founded in 2009 by Melissa Gonzalez, whose clients have included Purple, Brandless, Puma, the RealReal, Citizenry and Thrive Global. Its team will become MG2's New York office and maintain The Lion'esque Group brand.

Lion'esque will continue to work on retail strategy and pop-up retail and with bricks-and-mortar brands to transform their spaces into shopping experiences, according to the press release.

MG2 said it and Lion'esque are combining their experience across experiential design, operational strategy and architectural services.

It said the merger is an “industry first” that reflects a marketplace that demands that brands be agile and flexible.

MG2 has worked with retail brands that include Target, PCC, Brilliant Earth, DSW, Anthropologie, REI, and Tommy Bahama. Both firms have worked with Nordstrom, Amazon and Shape Properties.

As an example of its work, Lion'esque was hired for a project that promoted the release of the second season of the Amazon Prime original show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” From Nov. 29 through Dec. 8, 2018, the Carnegie Deli was brought back to life through a pop-up deli experience that transported visitors back to the era of the TV series, with everything from decor, to pricing, to the menu, reflecting 1950s New York City as depicted in the show. Lion'esque was hired to design and render and source and manage the production of the environment for the pop-up.

Lion'esque has produced over 150 bricks-and-mortar experiences in U.S. cities, according to its website. It says it helps clients rethink environments and in-store experiences to convey compelling stories that will keep and attract customers.

Besides Lion'esque, Gonzalez is the founder of Clark, a bricks-and-mortar wish list platform, and author of “The Pop-Up Paradigm: How brands build human connections in a digital age.”

Locally, MG2 is working on Fujimatsu Village, a planned tower — to include apartments over a hotel and retail/commercial space, plus underground parking — in Seattle's Chinatown-International District; the redevelopment of an older shopping center in Kirkland's Rose Hill neighborhood with about 850 apartments over retail; and the planned phased expansion of Costco's headquarters in Issaquah.

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