posted: June 2017
The Amtico team supports architects, specifiers and commercial interior design specialists to create floor designs that are perfect for their clients’ projects. Many detailed discussions and decisions go into making sure a retail floor design is just right and we’re sharing some of the all-important points that our clients consider in this article.
Light, cool colours in elegant wood grains and ceramic finishes laid in simple patterns help to create a calming, 'less-busy' atmosphere. This approach works particularly well to mark out a relaxing zone – a cafe area, perhaps – within a department store or supermarket. Approaching flooring design from a bold and dynamic standpoint by combining different colours and finishes in geometric patterns can create excitement and work very effectively to draw the customer’s attention to an opportunity for something new.
The overall look and feel of a floor adds significantly to a store’s image. Textured planks with a natural wood grain effect can enhance the authenticity of a retailer looking to create a rustic and homely interior, whereas the smooth finish and clean lines of a contemporary stone-effect tile introduces more of a sophisticated ambience.
Using flooring creatively within a department store to identify zones and highlight specific sections for beauty, homeware or children’s clothes, for example, will help guide the shopper to their chosen section quickly. This is an increasingly important point with the convenience of online shopping keeping people away from high street retailers.
Aside from zoning, having the creative scope to introduce design features such as curves, incorporate elements of the company’s brand identity – even the logo itself – or come up with a bespoke concept really opens up possibility for retail interior design that enhances the shopper experience.
Creating the right atmosphere
A store’s atmosphere directly contributes to a customer’s experience, but it is often the case that a retail space will need more than one look or feel with different areas being used for a variety of purposes.
Colour plays an important part in creating this atmosphere. While we’re probably all familiar with the idea that a ‘red’ sale sign can encourage customers to react quickly and that ‘blue’ is often seen as being harmonious and calming, these two colours aren’t natural choices for sophisticated retail floors. Where flooring definitely does play a role in creating the most suitable retail atmosphere is with its tone, material, surface finish and laying pattern.
Choice, choice, choice
Architects and interior designers need access to flooring collections with real choice, particularly when a retail store has multiple departments or concessions that each require visual separation – or zoning – and have their own performance requirements. We touch on zoning and performance later on, but here we’re talking about the need for variety, and this means choice in product colour, surface finish, design, laying pattern, and even choice of both LVT and carpet tile from the same manufacturer. It’s important to have enough choice, both within and across a manufacturer’s flooring collections, so that design isn’t constrained and a brand’s identity and personality can be truly represented through the product choice available.
Flooring that performs
Equally as important as choice and creative scope are a floor’s performance characteristics. Hard-wearing, durable and easy to maintain will always be the watchwords of retail flooring, but having access to specialist flooring collections with enhanced slip resistance for areas prone to spills, such as supermarket drinks aisles or cafe counter areas, and complementary matting for a welcoming and practical entrance also play their part.
This is when working with a flooring manufacturer with multiple collections that provide choice in design and performance characteristics makes it easier for architects and designers to impress their clients with tailored flooring design. And from the client’s point of view, having flooring supplied by a UK manufacturer with UK stock holding will mean a quick turnaround on service and less disruption to trading.
The right retail atmosphere will come from a careful blend of visual elements – floor design is one of these important visual elements that also enhances the store’s comfort and performance, providing huge opportunity for enhancing a store concept overall.