Showroom, coworking, meeting room, workshop for designers and their clients – all in one store. Samples of newest and most fashionable designer tiles and ceramic granite get the framing they deserve.
This Moscow store offers tiles and ceramic granite from cutting-edge fashionable collections in middle, upper and luxury market segments. We designed the interior and completed full reconstruction and refurbishment of the showroom (total floor area after reconstruction amounts to 320 sq.m.). The project required us to focus on tight-schedule planning and close supervision, since the store close-down time had to be as short as possible. Besides, large and heavy exhibition equipment had to be dismantled, removed, and then installed in the store again. We managed to squeeze the reconstruction works into a very short timeframe, so the store only had to be closed for two months. The interior style is minimalistic, in order to draw all attention to the products on display and create a proper background for them.
The client set the following tasks for us:
- fit as many as possible large-sized display stands in the showroom, in order to have more collections on display,
- design convenient access paths to stands and samples, make the space open, friendly and well-lit,
- create a zone where architects and their clients, as well as private clients, could work with samples comfortably (something like a coworking zone),
- organize the products on display by material, type, function, style, producer,
- demonstrate options and possibilities to use the products in interiors,
- create workplaces for sales manages in the showroom and find place for back-office and storage rooms.
The main problem we faced was that the store is a huge open space with few walls to use for display of products. Another issue was creating the right atmosphere. Quite often such stores resemble a Sunday market or a jigsaw with all the pieces mixed together, so the clients may find themselves overwhelmed and confused. Products are often misplaced and not organized by style and category. Another common problem of stores offering materials for refurbishment (that we wanted to avoid) is insufficient lighting.
For the layout design we used the “double bottom” principle: large display stands are used as walls. This way we avoided fractioning the space with additional walls, but divided it into functional zones and increased the display surface. The layout is designed in such a way, that the showroom lures the visitors inside, suggesting to go further along a path that circles the key display stands, and the visitors can still easily remember where they spotted which products. The store also has a meeting zone, workplaces for sales staff and back-office.
The layout solution allowed us to increase the number of display stands. In the course of reconstruction the old showroom premises were joined with the neighboring offices. After reconstruction the total showroom floor area was increased by 70%, whereas the layout helped us to increase the display surfaces area by 170%.
The idea of the layout design is based on the arrangement of market squares in old towns, where people stroll along galleries on the sides of the square, stop by at cafes or workshops, and in the middle there is a fountain or a statue surrounded by a temporary market or performing street artists.
There are three key elements of the showroom layout: “market place” – central display of the newest collections, “street theatre” – meeting table, “backstage” – workplaces of sales managers buzzing with work where the orders are being processed. Another important zone is the one with tables for clients in front of the big windows facing a busy street. Clients and designers working with samples catch the eyes of people in the street, get them interested and urge them to come in.
We approached lighting very seriously and carried out engineering calculations of light intensity for various options of lighting fixtures. The lighting in the store complies with the newest world standards for sales spaces.
A common problem is that customers get confused and lost in the vast varieties of samples in stores, since they do not have a comfortable place to mull over the combinations. We built large working tables with solid surfaces, where customers can have a closer look at the samples. Workplaces of sales managers are located within easy reach for customers (and not in a separate room as before), so the clients see the managers and are not discouraged to ask for advice. All documents related to products on display are also placed in the showroom, so it is easy to find additional information on availability, prices, etc. and have a query for a large list of items processed promptly.
Samples are placed in such a way that ensures that each looks its best and is perceived by the clients correctly. For example, large tiles with large patterns are placed on the farthest wall.
In order to demonstrate how various products can be used in interiors, we used tiles to decorate the showroom. For instance, the showroom features tables, bookcases and doors covered with tiles. Furniture, some of the display stands and lighting were designed and produced specially for the store using the newest materials the store offers. We made use of all available surfaces – tiles can be found on some of the walls and even on the ceiling.