Retailing & Retail Design
Ar. Gian P. Mathur, Managing Director & Ar. Mitu Mathur, Director, Gian P. Mathur & Associates Pvt. Ltd., give a glimpse of the changing retail trends and how design plays a role in shaping successful retail establishments.
The growing affluence of India’s consuming class, the emergence of the new breed of entrepreneurs and a flood of imported products in the food and fashion sector, have driven the current retail boom in the domestic market.Gradually we see a positive shift in the attitude of government agencies as well, as they comprehend these futuristic proposals as a significant impetus to our growing economy. A latest example can be cited from Delhi Building bye-laws which has made all corridors and Public areas, free of FAR, thereby facilitating flexibility and openness in design proposals. Similarly, a few state governments have started giving incentives to promote green building features.
The Right Mix: The concept evolves from the idea that each member of the family has different aspirations and therefore it is imperative that a right mix of retail is accounted for right at the inception stage. This will include combination of Hyper stores, Anchors, retail stores and vanilla shops, with ample space for kiosks. Mix of uses is created by incorporating major crowd pullers like Multiplex, curated Food Courts &Joints and Large format Entertainment centers.
Scale is the key: With the current average spending time in the mall being 2-2.5 hours, the target retention time of the population is 4-5 hours. Only large format developments can offer a plethora of services, exhaustive shopping choices and spaces asutility facilitators as well as meeting hubs for the new generation. The focus is shifting from public parks to plazas in the retail malls.
Ease of Movement and Legibility:Traffic circulation needs to be seamlessly integrated to have minimum interference with the pedestrian movement. The resourceful management of basement-parking areas that tend to be vacant during the week and filled to maximum capacity during weekends can substantially reduce lighting and ventilation loads on the overall development. In addition, negative spaces could be innovatively utilized as flexible usable spaces. Concurrently, aesthetically crafted and fabricated signage can make the shopping experience pleasurable.
Fusion of Technology and tradition:In order to prevent the decline of offline (outdoor) shopping at the hands of growing trend of online shopping, the shoppers need to be enticed into coming into the stimulating environment of the premises. Thus, humanizing an immersive experience becomes an integral part of future retail design.
Fashioning a USP for the project: To create a USP retail properties are introducing a mix of functions like hotels and banquets with the shopping areas. In addition, entertainment hubs of varying nature are being introduced as key crowd pullers. These destination developments target a retention period of around six hours and are projected as recreational hubs for the entire family. Successful examples are Outlet Malls all across Western Europe and America.
High Street for Higher Returns: The replication of American retail model of mall, aided by mechanically ventilated environments is hugely popular but consume more energy and end up exhausting pockets of both the retailer and the consumer. There is a growing inclination visible to break the monotony of these box-type malls and recreate the charm of streets. High-Street Shopping is a new trend in retail design.
Indian Bazaars are still popular amongst Indian shoppers due to their closely connected shopping streets and open courtyards with a lot of activity and energy. Likewise, with the right tenant mix, designated zoning and congregational plazas designed as courtyards with interconnected streets, the mall owners can create varying environs to attract footfall while creating an ease of shopping experience.