The importance of in-store design within commercial interiors is integral to portraying a brand message while also creating a unique experience within a distinctive environment people will enjoy.
We took a break with two members from our design team and talked about how they look at the world and what inspires them. Laura Burnside and Emma Riley share their perspective.
Emma – Naturally, as a designer there is a role to play throughout.
It’s not just a case of interpreting a brief, it goes deeper than that. This has just as much to do with continuity and quality control. From paint finishes to materials, we almost become the brand guardians that go beyond showing what a space looks like.
Good design works. It should be something tangible as well as intangible. It is our role to innovate and create, but also provide solutions with function.
Laura – Every detail needs consideration, from a flooring material to a fabric cushion all have a role to play in terms of aesthetics, expression, and the lasting experience. Lighting also plays a significant part, we usually work and liaise with external lighting designers to ensure the ambiance is perfect.
Laura – There is no slant towards one group, they are both as important as each other.
A client understands their customer implicitly. If the end user has a happy experience, they will come back and prolong a relationship. It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ question.
Emma – Totally agree with Laura. The brand creates the experience and the customer feels part of something.
From a design perspective, everything comes down to the goals and objectives for each group (user/client) and interpreting.
Laura – That is one of the roles, but the client has usually solved their problem in terms of what is missing and the support that they need. We then have a role that moves on from the problem solver to one that can advise and provide assurance.
We completely appreciate that the end result is more sales, so how can we help make it easier and more inviting for people to interact within a space.
Emma – It all starts with research. It has to be the role of the designer to interpret, translate and to challenge. A successful project is attributed to understanding both the customer and their audience.
Emma – I’m not just saying it because it is my profession, but retail space truly inspires me.
From restaurants such as Turtle Bay, to stores such as Lush, they represent authentic committed design and more importantly, they stand for something. When I recently travelled throughout Europe I was exhilarated by the use of space and how retailers interpret the world in their own way.
Laura – My choice has always been museums and exhibitions. Naturally I am a visual person, so can meander through exhibitions for hours and am inspired by how others work and interpret.
The last spaces that truly inspired me were the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A and also the Royal Academy summer exhibition where they painted the entire staircase with a rainbow of colours, it was stunning.
Laura – Whilst there’s a huge push for technology from wearable’s to in store experiences, I believe that the world will look to revert to more traditional methods. The reliance on the online customer experience is pushing the importance of the high street to one side. If retailers can offer the customer an experience that they cannot gain online, the customer becomes an ally to that brand.
Emma – Let’s champion the spaces that we feel part of.
Technology and the traditional store experience can work hand in hand if the customer is more curious, more surprised and feels invited.
Everything comes back to the aspirations of the brand, who they are and the audience they wish to serve.