Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Dr. Francesca Murialdo (Fig.1) graduated Architecture at Politecnico di Milano as well as European PhD in Interior Architecture and Exhibition Design at the same place. Her interests are orientated around the idea to built physical connections between spaces, objects, people by using different strategies. In her career Francesca specializes in adaptive re-use, hospitality and retail strategy in design. Now she is teaching Interior Architecture as a Senior Lecturer in Middlesex University in London. (Middlesex university London, no date)
I was pleased to read her excerpt ‘Practices of Consumption and Spaces for goods’ and to attend her lecture about retail design at Middlesex University. That made me think about different things and find my own interpretation about the design and the consumers.
The world of design is always changing and evolving, alongside the people that always look for something interesting and different to cater to their needs. With this constant evolution there is always something new to be created and if businesses don’t follow trends they lose pace and eventually lose profits. One of those recent changes is connected to how we experience and purchase products.
It’s no longer just the product we buy, it’s the experience that comes with it. The feelings, emotions and personal associations that come with it. In a world where we always have a choice and can buy virtually the same product from multiple different places, why do we choose the one we choose? According to Francesca Murialdo’s “Practice of Consumption and Space for Goods”. The world is changing in such a way where the architecture and interior of a store are as important as the actual product that they sell. In this, the involvement of an interior designer or an architect is more and more important in how we shape the experience of the customer. “Retail has not only a fundamental role in the different organization of the city, its public spaces and social life; it is a complete re-invention of the significance of the goods and, in last instance, of our lifestyle and understanding of the world.”
In her texts, gives interesting examples of different stores and shops around the globe, but one of my favorite examples is here in London – TopShop on Oxford circus.(Fig.2) While other shops deliver these experiences this one has their target audience very well defined and cater to them. When approaching the shop you realize it’s more than a clothes store. It has a DJ in front of the store, a milkshake and a bubble tea stand on the shop floor, a coffee shop on the lower floor alongside a make-up, hair, tattoo and piercing parlor. All of these create a more holistic experience and make the whole store an entirely new type of shopping experience.
Top Shop at Oxford Street. A shop that uses all 5 senses in the design of the spaces inside.
Thinking about experience design we see other evidences about the change in the thinking of the consumer. This is confirmed by the journal “Welcome to the Experience Economy” by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. There they explain how experiences are “not just for the theme parks anymore” and that they can be incorporated in the design to make it more effective. One method to do so is focusing on the five basic human senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch. By catering to the five senses we can increase the intensity of the experience. “The sensory stimulants that accompany an experience should support and enhance its theme. The more senses an experience engages, the more effective and memorable it can be”.
One good reference we can see on this site: http://design-milk.com/sensorium-exhibition-a-space-devoted-to-the-five-senses/?utm_source=Design%20Milk%20newsletter&utm_campaign=e2169315f8-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email#!bOl0fO
This is a Céline Merhand and Anaïs Morel’s project about creating an environment to explore all five of your senses.(Fig.3)
In interior design thinking about how to excite the senses can create a better atmosphere and influence people in the way you want. You can simulate experiences and ideas dictating how people behave just by using the right smells, sounds, using the right fabrics…
In an ever-evolving world of design, we should always be one step ahead of the trends. We should use them to strengthen our ideas and make them more effective. There are many different ways to do so but understanding the shift from “commodity” to “experience” is important.