A Shropshire architect is enjoying a retail boom after an increasing number of shops, community ventures and even a hospital have enlisted its help to increase footfall and boost sales.
Johnson Design Partnership, which is based on Station Lane in Bridgnorth, has completed four major projects in the last year alone, with the overwhelming theme being to create the right external and internal image to attract shoppers, pub enthusiasts and restaurant-goers.
According to founding director Vic Johnson this has been the company’s busiest period for completing jobs in this arena and highlights the desire from retailers and the leisure sector to find a ‘unique selling point’.
“Consumers are a different breed from what they were 10 years ago and it is as much about creating a positive experience as it is about the products you stock and the prices you attach to them,” explained Vic.
“We work with our clients to understand who they are looking to attract and then look at the use of design, light and materials to come up with a building that not only looks the part, but is also functional and accentuates the retailer’s main assets.”
He went on to add: “Getting the client through the door is the first hurdle. Then you have to understand that their experience of the environment inside will affect what they purchase and how long they stay for.
“Is the circulation open and easy to move around? Is the lighting sufficient enough to see the product without being overpowering? The type of materials, furnishings and even doors you choose can sometimes make or break the atmosphere you are trying to create.”
In the last 18 months, JDP has completed a bar for a Shropshire community hub, a new building for Quatt Cricket Club to use as a social venue and the opening up of a well-known pub in Bridgnorth.
One of the more unusual contracts completed was to provide a feasibility study for a new concourse at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
This was warmly received and focused on the need to create a ‘retail experience’ similar to one you would expect to find in Europe’s best shopping destinations.
It looked at the use of striking design and light open spaces, while maximising the opportunity to attract the number of retailers needed to provide additional revenue streams for the hospital trust.