Boush Street Offices

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Retail Design Strategies

Designing retail facilities can be a bit daunting to some architects, especially if they are familiar with the particulars of this type of architecture. So many will say, "Really? It is just a box! How tough can it actually be?" You're right, how tough can it be? Not tough at all if you know what you're doing......pretty complicated if you're not familiar with sales and marketability. So here are a few secrets that IONIC focuses on to make us one of the areas leading designers of retail facilities.

1. Retail Industry is about making money. Don't forget when you're designing the structure that the developer is doing this to make money. If you spend it all on the architecture, he won't be a financially successful. Might look great.....but you may not see that client again. Keep the structure.....or the box.....simple. Not make the actual structure complicated. Spend more than me and money on the facade.

2. The facade is the sales billboard. The building facade should be attractive no doubt. After all the developers cannot fill with tenants if they don't like the building's aesthetics. It needs to attract the tenants as well as being inviting to the future clientele. The looks are one of the biggest selling points a developer has when introducing his product to the market. Another thought to keep in is the developers PRODUCT, it's your BUILDING. He is selling this are only drawing it. The facade needs to have the ability to adapt to many different tenants that are out there. Often you won't have a specific tenant to design for......or in five years they may move out and a new one comes in. 

3. Adaptability is Key. It isn't only the facade that needs to be adaptable when the architect is designing the building, it is also the floor plan. The architect needs to think about how the developer can market a space to a particular tenant if he wants 2000 square feet......well you designed it for 2500 SF units......sorry can't help you. In a competitive market you can't afford that......correction....your developer cannot afford that! The plan needs to be able to accommodate many variations if at all possible.

4. Why should I rent here? Good question. Does your new design look like one that was built in 1980 still? Does it look like the one two blocks away......that is renting for $1 SF less? Market appeal isn't always about the stats and particular location. Many times it is about the magnet of business being able to say, " We are in the big green building on the blvd." or "Our coffe shop is the one with the big red canopy." It becomes a sakes MUST become a sales tool. You don't want your retail facility to look exactly the same as the other four on the same street.

5. Are we there yet? Yep, we hear it all the time at IONIC, when will you be done so I can show people? To be successful as we have been we absolutely have to be quick. The hardest part it matching a design concept to a new client's tastes. Once that is done you need to knock it out quickly. We have developed concepts within a few days already with full blown hi-res renderings. After that construction documents need to be got it.....the next day. We've completed full sets of retail facilities that range from 6,000 SF to 40,000 SF in as little as three weeks. And I don't mean those sets that include only three sheets of construction details......I mean a FULL set! One that a contractor can confidently build from and that a plan reviewer can permit. Typically....time is money.

So my friends the next time you are looking to design and build a successful retail facility, please give us a call and allow IONIC to share our wealth of experience. You deserve someone who cares as much as you do about your project. 

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Creating place and spaces that enrich the lives of those who use them.
Ionic DeZign Studios.
D. Eugene Thompson, AIA

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