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Innovations in Store Design

Q: Are there any innovations in store design that you've been tracking?

MCG Architecture

Jeff Gill, Vice President and Principal: Many of our tenant clients utilize green building products in the master specifications. These clients are forward-thinking and considering long-term costs, given lease terms and existing and future inventory. In many cases, tenants meet the requirements of LEED certification based on their prototypical standards. As LEED becomes more commonplace as the governing standard, the client who accepts a product now will have an easier process in maneuvering through the governing jurisdiction. These green material practices can easily be incorporated into development and other project types.

MVE & Partners

Keith Ray, Principal: Tenants are going back to the tried and true basics in typical shopping venues but they are also open to being more creative in special places. So with basics as the foundation, you can achieve some creative and innovative solutions.

KKE Architects

Brian Arial, Managing Principal: We have been noticing that the innovations are actually not innovations at all but good “fundamentals” of architecture and development. It is time for architects to be architects again and understand that the drawings we produce are just the necessary evil. Today it is more important for the architect to be an integral part of the development team and be able to focus upon our clients' drivers.


Richard Foy, Co-Chairman: We are working on new configurations of sustainable retail clusters that include Web savvy informed shopping, sensory merchandising, brand enhancement and social interaction. We have also devised a true hybrid center that incorporates the benefits of outdoor public space into high-performance enclosed malls. Intelligent, convenient, comfortable, natural, social and sensual real world experiences can trump the isolated sterility of Internet shopping.

O'Brien & Associates

Jack O'Brien, President and CEO: With the rise of energy costs, tenants are focusing on decreasing their long-term cost of operation through energy-efficient design. Whereas tenants were resistant to sustainable design in the past, they are much more receptive to initiating discussions about it now. We anticipate this being even more in the forefront of lease negotiations with the upcoming release of the LEED Retail system that is scheduled for public release later this year.


Scott Hall, Senior Associate and Senior Designer: Mixed-use retail is the most innovative design trend affecting projects. Stacking of diverse uses, such as residential and office, is creating greater density, while dynamic vertical scale is shaping complementary and more sustainable experiences.

Perkowitz + Ruth Architects

Sy Perkowitz, President and CEO: Focusing on the “experience” as an innovative design principal continues to be increasingly important. Just as store design focuses heavily on the customer experience, retail projects demand the same. Customers want to shop in a clean and healthy environment that features outdoor amenities, social gathering areas and a pedestrian-friendly experience. These are all elements derived from good design that focuses on the basic elements of place-making.


Bruce A. Barteldt, Jr., National Retail Studio Principal: Those of us who were at EuroShop this past winter, were treated to a glimpse into the future of lighting: LED. While the technology has been around for decades, for the in-store environment, it is now becoming the new standard for a broad array of lighting applications since price, color rendition, lifespan and flexibility have all improved. There's no doubt in our minds that the application of LED technology will swiftly become broadly used for commercial development settings, especially as it can be applied to environmental graphics, signage (both general and specialty) and custom illumination effects for facades and landscaping.


Kevin Nice, Principal: Besides more innovative green design, especially daylighting and material reuse, there is a real effort to go beyond ADA toward universal design. It is a great trend since it makes you think about design using all 6 senses — sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste — and sense of responsibility.

HKW Associates

Fred L. Keith, President: Nearly all national retailers are demanding more energy-efficient buildings from developers. Low-emittance glazing, reflective roof surfaces, higher-than-code-minimum insulation values and sophisticated controls for HVAC systems are now standard requirements. These design standards quickly trickle down into the rest of the center's design.


Bob Tindall, Chairman: We are seeing a merging of a variety of disciplines: graphic design, advertising and interactive media theater in the store environment to become a more holistic expression of the brand. A store is more than just a place to buy; it is a community destination and a place to experience not only products, but lifestyles. Retail centers can apply this by taking on the role and responsibility of the community center by offering events and activities that bind the community together.

Dorsky Hodgson Parrish Yue

Kevin Zak, Partner: We are focused on creating design solutions for our clients. We draw inspiration from many facets: the built environment, the human experience and continuously evolving market trends. We then blend those ideas with successful solutions that we reinterpret in a progressive way. Advancing design to create environments that align with our consumer's thinking, green design, technology, human comfort, and the “magic” of a place that draws people in is the basis of our work.

ka architecture

Richard Wilden, Senior Design Architect: Some retail chains have taken a leadership role in sustainability with their store designs that affects how their competition builds. This forces developers to incorporate more green initiatives than they may have otherwise. Others have been leading by capitalizing on the public's increasingly discriminating design savvy and desire for unique shopping experiences, such as those in vertically integrated mixed-use projects. The more forward-thinking stores will be attracted to environments that are developed with like-minded principles.

JPRA Architects

Greg Tysowski, Vice President of Design: The most notable innovation in store design is the efficient use of space and product integrated with new technology and high-impact electronic display or graphics. New opportunities in lighting from interior and exterior display standpoints as well as energy savings are of prime importance for retailers and designers. The impact of LEED for Retail Interiors has also spurred new thinking and interest. Generally, all the above mentioned principles follow hand in hand with current thinking in the design of retail properties where the tenants are more in control of their future destiny and identities.

FRCH Design Worldwide

Y. E. Smith, Vice President and Managing Creative Director: We are seeing smaller-sized national retailers creating multiple prototypes and sub-brands. The buying power of the twenty-something crowd is huge and retailers are looking to capture this by offering less expensive items in the new and even smaller versions. While it may be desirable to have larger stores in developments for the draw, an increased number of smaller shops are filling the voids created by store shutdowns, and smaller shops work quite nicely with vertical mixed-use dimensions.

Design Collective

Rich Burns, Principal: Creative use of materials, particularly green and sustainable building materials are transforming store design. The innovative use of materials is now evident in the overall design of projects. This innovative use of material is being advanced in a contemporary or modern design mode. Developers and architects of retail projects are now moving away from stylized neotraditional expressions to more modern statements of architecture while still focusing on the importance of open space and place-making.


Leo V. Mendez, Director of Retail Design: We have been considering the concept of shopping modes. Generally, people are in one of five shopping modes. As the need and desires change with each mode, the mode the shopper assumes will be dependent upon the context. This presents an opportunity to provide design solutions specific to creating environments cognizant of the shopper's objective. We are then provided a platform to design moments into retail properties thus altering the context to enhance the shopping mode objective.

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