The 10 Hottest Retail Design Trends
There's a plethora of ways design impacts shoppers from the merchandising of candy at the checkout counter to the smell of baking bread to put you in a shopping mood at the grocery store. Dallas-based OMNIPLAN principal Tip Housewright goes deeper than that and outlines 10 design trends that are having a huge impact on retailers’ (and landlords’) bottom lines.
KNOW YOUR STORY
What is your center all about? Luxury? Convenience? Value? Have a story and stick to it, Tip tells us. The brand at NorthPark Center in Dallas has always been about a sophisticated shopping experience in a mid-century modern building. The center is void of kiosks throughout the corridors, but offers art installations instead, he says. The refined material palate and tenant requirements further contribute to this level of sophistication. As a result, NorthPark tells a strong story that people from all around the world come to experience.
FLIP IT INSIDE OUT(LET)
Outlet centers are thriving as a result of the Great Recession. Developers are looking to innovate the traditional outlet mall. Look for more urban outlet formats and hybrid outlet centers, Tip says. The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in New Orleans created a new urban experience in the heart of New Orleans that integrated experiential design with luxury amenities, while providing value to the customer.
GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
Sustainability is here to stay, Tip says, because customers demand it and tenants expect it. Embrace green initiatives in design, construction and operations. At Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, CA, Tip says the team transformed an enclosed mall to an outdoor center that connected with the Third Street Promenade and gave immediate views to the ocean. The open-air renovation reduced the need for air conditioning while improving the air quality of the shopping experience. All landscaping is drought-resistant, and there’s a number of green roof patches throughout the complex. High-efficiency lighting, smart parking controls and hybrid parking set-asides all contribute to this LEED Silver Certified shopping center.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Outdoor green space sets a center apart; it enhances the character of a center, provides a setting for outdoor dining and tells your customers they're welcome to spend time there, Tip tells us. In the suburbs of Chicago, Oakbrook Center is one of the nation’s largest open air shopping centers with an interior courtyard spanning the entire center. Lush landscaping and water elements run throughout, making nature an integral part of the shopping experience. At the heart of the center is a new landscaped lawn perfect for community gatherings, music and movies.
Placemaking is being replaced by buzz-making. Tip advises asking yourself: Is there a THERE, there? Do I want to spend time in this place? Will I have a memorable moment? At Highland Park Village in Dallas, OMNIPLAN designed an addition of a clocktower and opened up unused spaces for new restaurants that would weave into the existing 1930s building. The result was a more cohesive project that generated more buzz throughout the community.
WHERE IT’S AT
Great retail is well-located, great real estate. Take advantage of your property’s unique attributes, Tip says. Fashion Center at Pentagon City in Arlington, VA, was originally a somewhat suburban site, but over time the area has densified greatly, making it much more urban. The new strategy to the renovation of the key project involved repositioning the center into a place that caters to the urban dweller and capitalizes on the urban amenities it provides, including a below-grade rail line.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Think outside the box about vacancies and underutilized spaces. Reinvent the space to be better than before—infused with retail and amenities. At Baybrook Mall in Houston, OMNIPLAN is adding 250k SF to an existing enclosed mall where a large surface parking lot once was. This new outdoor expansion includes a large one-acre lawn to create green space that will be the focal point of dining and entertainment, creating a new heart to this community, Tip says.
FOR RICHER OR POORER
We can’t all afford luxury retail, but we all want high-life experience, Tip says. Give the customer luxurious, unforgettable moments. Grapevine Mall is an outlet mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that needed a more sophisticated approach. OMNIPLAN renovated the center to include cleaner lighting, furniture and fixtures, creating a more luxury experience for the customer, Tip says.
The recent retail trend is moving back toward the city’s core. Retailers are customizing the traditional floor plate to meet the needs of the urban dweller. CityLine in the Dallas suburb of Richardson is a wonderful example of a very rich and dense environment where retail was vital to the ground floor, Tip says. The mixed-use approach integrates multifamily and office in a way that helps support the retail but also generates a sense of activity at the street level.
Whether it’s a small-format bowling alley, a canine cantina or a gourmet grocery store, diversifying and giving your customer more options is not a passing fad, it’s good business, Tip says. At the Granite Boardwalk in the Dallas suburb of Plano, Tip says his team is designing a space that consolidates many restaurants into a single location centered on a large water feature, all connected by a long deck. This innovation is the type of strategy that keeps retail evolving every day.