As retail transforms increasingly into a world of leisure and entertainment today’s designers have to be able to craft environments able to tell stories and to amuse. Retail is standing in for the historic circus, constantly re-inventing its content to entertain people with surprising effects and acts. The product is no longer the only intent of the visit when the retail space has become a social market place to meet, exchange, learn and discover. Cool hunters are out to be the first ones to discover the uncovered, unusual and unexpected.
Visual effects are tools that we borrow from theater design because they can support a story with a lasting emotional imprint. Sometimes a simple tactic can create a surprising illusion that fully transforms an environment to a fantastical un-real world. While such techniques usually have a short life span (once you have seen it, you are over it) they certainly contribute for the brand to be talked about. Like the buzz around an artshow.
Such effects can be found increasingly executed through new technologies of all kinds but my experience has told me to stay away from high tech solutions in retail as they are usually not suited for 20hrs of operations 7 days a week and when they break it leaves a very dull space behind. The tactics I am referring to are low tech with high impact.
To illustrate I am listing some examples here below:
Marking Entry: The futuristic entry into this store stands in opposition to the building. It is a threshold into a different world behind like the entry to a fairy tale.
Inversion: An even more literal take on the fairy tale this entire store was build upside down.
Repetition: An iconic products defines the whole environment.
Texture: Color pattern desorient and define the geometry of the space.
Ad absurdum: The unexpected use of roofing material on the inside.
Proportions: The distortion of the proportions creates an extreme spatial feel.
Unexpected behavior: Architectural elements peel away, destabilizing the environment.
Illusion: The space has seemingly been rotated to the side.
Stage set: Fake doors & paper thin walls show an unreal setting.
Fairy Tale Effects
It is with such tools that designers can create memorable results which provoke internal reflection and intellectual engagements that create discussion, criticism and attention, all aspects that a brand would normally wish for.