The material world

Visual Merchandising and Retail Design|March 2020

The material world
In the brand theatre called the store, there are many unsung heroes. They all play their part, often quietly and unobtrusively. Architectural and surface materials, for example, are an integral part of the spatial experience of a brand, playing an important role in defining the brand’s personality and aesthetic identity. This in turn influences shopper perception of the brand. VM&RD reached out to some store designers and architects to get a sense of what’s happening in the material world. Here’s a look.

When Swati Sharma, 35, set foot into this new home interiors boutique in South Delhi, what grabbed her sensory attention was a certain artisanal aura enveloping the space - as though the whole environment was a throwback to the rustic elegance of rural artistic heritage. There was also a certain Wabi Sabi charm pervading the whole space - stripped down, rugged aesthetics that spoke a minimalist language. It took Swati some time to zero in on the source of this aesthetic effect - stone masonry work on the walls and interiors, among other elements . Needless to say, Swati spent more time at the store than she intended to when curiosity drove her inside.

In another instance, as shared by Tanuj Biyani, Senior Project Lead, Studio Lotus, at the store Paro by Good Earth in the Chanakya Mall, Delhi, the design studio used salt bricks “to accord a monastic ambience to the retail pockets, and a sense of tranquility in the spa area”.

Well, anyone in the business of architecture and store design knows that the architectural/surface/fixture materials can make or break a brand. But how exactly does it impact? Is the effect subliminal? If so, how exactly does it translate into tangible gains for the brand?

Material matters – but why?

Says Tuhin Roy, Co Founder-Creative Director, JumpingGoose, “Use of the right material ensures the coherence between the brand and the store. The store is the language that the brand speaks in. For example- Motocult is a biker apparel brand. Giving the store the theme of an Indian Biking Cult, every element in the store- from civil work to fixtures, VM props and in store communication to the lighting related to and has a direct connect with biking.”

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March 2020