Exhibition space, lighting, interior design and materials: these are the elements to design a clothing store
Designing a clothing store does not simply involve a systematic merchandise display, but rather creating a unique customer experience while delivering value in the supply chain. A strategic use of the retailing space and proper store layout will forge a special bond with the target audience and affect their purchase behaviour.
This focus article addresses the main criteria for designing a clothing store through important components such as store design, correct use of spaces for display and sale, effective lights installation, selection of materials for finishes and furnishings and contemporary design contents. Furthermore, you’ll be able to download the BIM model of a clothing store project example.
Retailing: general principles
Sales methods change rapidly to meet new social, territorial and demographic needs and conditions.
Quality, size and distribution on the territory of various ways of selling are largely affected by socio-cultural and organizational factors including purchasing habits, customs, lifestyles and values that characterize a society.
The retailing industry has undergone a significant transformation over the past years and retailers relying on earlier formats should adapt while e-commerce rises and digital retail technology disrupt existing industries.
In this article we will focus on the design of a physical store and analyse its retailing details.
The small distribution is characterized by elementary commercial units in which sales operations are carried out with traditional techniques and with a direct relationship between the user and the retailer.
The most representative of these sales channels is the store, typical of central urban areas, dealing mainly with specialized genres, and common even in suburbs, thus selling also mass-market products.
How to design a clothing store: interior design and functionality
Interior design and functionality are determining elements when planning and arranging a clothing store.
Design is the tool that determines a narrative path and transfers the brand’s message and its philosophy, while functionality defines the use of space by users.
Another fundamental factor to consider is the target audience for a specific type of product, that will determine the peculiar features of the store. For example, a shop targeting young fashion and urban style enthusiasts will be designed as a multimedia space, in which images with strong evocative and communicative power stand out, while a luxury boutique for women will have a more sophisticated and elegant style.
In modern retailing, service and reception areas cannot be neglected. You need to equip rooms with contemporary design, in line with market trends, taste and style of end users. Spaces need to engage shoppers through the careful selection of furnishings and finishes.
From store to concept store
The decline of shopping centres has enabled the rise of experiential retail and concept stores, transforming the whole shopping experience.
The concept store is, by definition, a shop that combines culture with commerce, where customers can explore and discover the idea that the company wants to convey, through carefully designed ambient, lights and music.
The architecture of the store is one of its most distinctive feature and concept stores sell a curated selection of products that suggest a certain lifestyle or theme. For example, if you are selling “street style” fashion, you will choose interiors with brick walls, graffiti or murals to appeal a certain audience. A different store design will be envisaged in case you want to focus on an “environmentally friendly” or “luxury” experience.
Advance planning is of critical importance to any successful exhibition marketing strategy. Therefore, you will need to address exhibition stand, shelves and accessories design details, such as the ideal positioning to deliver an emotional experience.
The correct lighting in the retail world is essential to create engaging atmospheres and to better highlight products. It is important to balance spotlights and ambient lights so as to transform the space into a pleasant and very communicative environment.
At the same time, store windows must take into account the internal surface. In large surface shops, you should opt for a closed window display, which block the rest of the store off from being viewed by shoppers, putting the full focus on the products.
Characteristics of sales environments
In a fully assisted sales system, sufficient space must be provided for the customers standing in front of the sales counter. Sitting shop assistants will require a section at least 65-80 cm wide; standing customers instead will need a space 45-50 cm wide. The free area, intended for the customer route, must be at least 1.80-2.00 m wide.
In a self-service sales system, products can be displayed on wall shelving (1) inside the sales area (2), or on island displays (3):
- the space used must be 75-90 cm, depending on the type of products and height of the shelves, which may vary according to the depth of the shelf boards
- in case they reach the maximum depth, approximately 80 cm, it is advisable to place the highest shelf at a height not exceeding 1.60 m, in order to be able to serve customers without difficulty
- for products exposed on island displays, a 75-cm wide space of use must be provided around the unit, in order to allow enough space for a trolley. In case of displays 1.20-1.40 m wide, the upper level of the products must be no more than 1.20 m high.
In case of wall or island displays, it is necessary to provide adequate clear space along passages, especially for wheelchair users, leaving 1.80-2.00 m space to access the products exhibition.
The space in front of the assisted sales area, adjacent to the main routes, requires a depth of at least 3 m, while the area between the exposed products and the cash desks must be at least 4 m deep.
Natural, mechanical ventilation and microclimate
Sales environments must have direct natural ventilation or an adequate mechanical ventilation system. In case of direct natural air, the openings must have a surface not less than standard workplace requirements.
Natural and artificial lighting
Sales environments can be illuminated by either natural light or artificial light sources. Even when natural lighting prevails, sales environments must still be equipped with adequate artificial lighting systems, suitable in terms of intensity and quality and that provide glare-free light.
Clothing store architecture and interior design
The clothing store has been inserted in a central urban area surrounded by other commercial activities. Built in a neoclassical building, the main facade is characterized by three large windows mounted in round arched compartments.
The exhibition and sales space has an L-shape in plan view and guarantees a comfortable customers and staff flow. The dressing room is located in a more private area of the store also including the staff changing room, the bathroom and a plant room.
At the end of the showroom there is a stock room for clothes. The air conditioning ducts, together with track lighting, create a visible aerial path of the installation system components.
Materials for floors and walls, selected according to chromatic characteristics, generate strong contrasts and deliver a minimalist environment with contemporary style and urban features, typical of today’s cities:
- the concrete floor (micro-cement), a floor without movement joints consisting of a liquid polymer and a particular cement mixture, was installed with just 3 mm thickness on the walking surface and on most of the perimeter walls, creating an effective contrast with some marble walls
- another standing out effect is also provided by the installation of panels covered in rosewood and suspended between the floor and the ceiling. They hold some black enamelled tubular square exhibitors, that are placed in different areas of the commercial space, thus creating a more dynamic interior space
- modular furnishing accessories, coat hangers, mirrors and paintings with an essential design, match with the rigorous and clear shapes of every structural element, as well as the square lines that run through this space, recalling the stylistic aspect of the whole project
- further contrast is represented by the air conditioning system pipes which, treated with polished chrome, create effective reflections off the anthracite grey ceiling.
|Download the 3D BIM model (.edf file) of the project|