Interior Design and Retail

Nadine Hussein

Interior Architect

Interior design is about how we experience spaces. It is a dominant and crucial part of our daily lives. In particular, the main design elements that make up the interior spaces that surround us are, space, line, form, light, color, texture, and pattern. If we combine these elements properly, we tend to create a space that satisfies the eye, the sense of touch, and fulfills the practical role. It is possible to think of retail architecture and interior design as a reflection of brand identity, in which the visual component of the space defines a specific experience related to the brand itself. Specifically, in retail architecture, strategic space management is very crucial. In which the architect should consider how to engage the customer within the space, in terms of floor plan flow (store layout); there are several ways you can design the flow in a store, grid-like, free-form and loop flow, as to where the eyes go, the feet will follow. The more ground the customer covers in a shop, the more they are exposed to different products thus, increasing sales.

Retail architecture is a very diverse field, yet there are primary principles that a designer should always work within a retail project, at first, the shopfront (window display), merchandise assortment, and ability to achieve different effective sales techniques. Utilizing the light in a store, in which lighting can be used to highlight specific products and circulation routes toward different parts of the store. Basically, lighting provides a better opportunity for the psychological experience associated with the client’s movement, subconsciously, it controls the movement of the customer; as to when the customer route is defined, the customer tends to walk towards the visually appealing product. Good store lighting means lighting up the merchandise towards the correct plane; either vertical or horizontal, correct lighting effects, suitable color temperatures for each product, warm tones, and high CRI (color rendering index) where needed; a perfect balance between different areas and different functions; well-lit areas such as transactional areas and fitting rooms with more natural light. Bearing in mind that contrast and suitable color temperature reflected on different product types enhance the decision to make a purchase; by making the product more desirable to get.

Secondly, the practicality and comfort, considering certain design requirements depending on the end-user; the age group, and their interest and way of interacting with the brand are crucial retail factors to fulfill needs according to the demand. In fact, the more comfortable you are in a space the longer you would stay. This is usually achieved by providing ease of access using signage and branding. Branding increases brand recognition by uniquely identifying specific products; product bundling for example, usually retailers often sell much of their products in sets or bundles to encourage customers to buy multiple well-displayed products all at once. The interior branding identity of the three-dimensional space is the mirror of the brand’s uniqueness. The interior design of a store and the branding of the three-dimensional space, form a relationship to complete the brand’s vision and target. 

Nowadays, retail shops are more showroom spaces assisting a brand in connecting to their potential customers. There should be no limits to creativity nor innovation!

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