This project did not proceed to implementation, but was an excellent opportunity to present a retail design solution for our clients in a prestigious location. The owners actually proceeded with a cheaper alternative, which looks fine, but the story below shows the degree of detail and integrity that we put into the proposal.
The brief was to refurbish a tourist information office and retail shop in a Grade II listed Georgian building. The space was uninspiring, poorly lit and difficult for people to negotiate. The retail displays were cluttered and tacky and the look and feel was of a council office. We interviewed managers and staff, and listed their daily needs to build into the design.
We assembled our partners with specific expertise in retail design, listed building consent, council planning approval and shopfitting. CGI visuals were produced to assist the client in understanding the main elements of the design proposal and refurbishment.
We proposed a practical, stylish and modern interior scheme with clear signage for visitors, display space for retail sales and improvements for wheelchair users and others with special needs. We provided many options for local businesses to market their services and attractions.
Levelling the floor, improving the lighting and introducing high-tech features would make this shop and office a delight for staff to work in and customers to visit. Working with the client’s brand guidelines, we proposed internal signage and graphics accordingly, along with exterior paint finish, advertising and window display.
Adopting Equality Act guidelines, lower level counter points were designed for both the main and retail counters. Two hearing loops were also to be installed. For staff, the counters were to be integrated with cable management and power points for terminals, EPOS and cash tills.
We also proposed a virtual queue management ticket system for the information service allowing visitors to browse the retail space (and spend more!) whilst waiting for their number to be called. Flat information screens around the space promoted local businesses (accommodation, restaurants, attractions, events) whilst showing ticket progress through the virtual queue. The queue system would reduce stress, distribute waiting visitors through the entire space, and capture management data on the services selected by customers.
We proposed LED fittings for ambient, task and feature lighting; the long-term cost of LEDs is very attractive for a large premises and boosts an organisation’s environmental credentials. The lighting design was computer-modelled to ensure the correct lux levels throughout the space. Flexible tracked spotlights also illuminated specific features and the whole look and feel was improved dramatically as a working environment and for those using the centre.
A space-efficient, automatic door was proposed to negate the existing door swing onto the floor-plate. It would also reduce the size of the glass lobby which interfered significantly with easy flow around the space. Wheelchair access was provided at street level through a side door.
Adopting retail design principles, displays were proposed that integrated information with retail sales. A mix of attractive displays including shelves, gondolas, bookcases, racks, bins, and mannequins would create an inspiring retail space. This, coupled with the virtual queuing system, maximised the opportunity to increase retail revenue.
We were disappointed not to have proceeded further with this project, but w enjoyed the breadth that the challenge offered and we had all the key partners ready to implement the design had we been so requested.