Retail Architecture & Fabrication

More and more retail brands are trying to create a unique experience for customers who walk into their brick-and-mortar locations. Instead of competing with big box brands that promise low prices, but a generic experience, higher-end retailers are going in the opposite direction by commanding market strength by offering a unique atmosphere and experience when shopping in their locations. 

Item value tied to retail interior design
The value of an item is not just inherently tied to what it can accomplish and what materials went into making it, but also whether it was purchased in a store that promises sustainability or humanitarian efforts as well. Consumers are making active decisions to support lifestyles and causes with their purchase, but in return, are asking businesses to create an overall experience for when they walk in the front doors. 

High-end retailers have known this secret for years. Many fashion brands have specialized in giving customers a unique, brand-specific atmosphere that made shopping more like an event than simply wandering through racks of clothes. A business owner can create a space that invites customers take in the entire sense of a brand with the right interior design elements in a store.

Industrial design grows in popularity
Many interior designers are finding that industrial-themed creations are growing in popularity. The lines and mix of both modern and older materials are visually stimulating and, as a result, customers enjoy perusing the retail space and the products or services available for sale. To accomplish this look, many retail interior designers are working to implement the use of versatile, durable materials that are modern, in conjunction with less elegant and rougher textured options. Smooth materials, polished steel and statement walls made of brick or wood are making a huge comeback in terms of trendy styles. 

Incorporate modern with traditional materials
By combining modern, innovative materials with more traditional options, an interior designer is able to create visual interest in a space. Developing an industrial space takes patience and the understanding that every piece included in the design must be multi-purpose. SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a thermoformed wall panel system that can offer a wide range of solutions to a retail store. The architectural wall panels have already proven successful in a wide range of retail spaces as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture.  


Consumers are more careful with their money than every before as a result of the Great Recession. For retail brands, this has meant a decline in purchases in brick-and-mortar locations. However, as the economy has improved, people are once again looking through and purchasing materials at their local stores. 

Yet, the retailers that are doing the best in the business are those that offer more than racks upon racks of items for purchase. Retail brands that have put thought into the interior design of a store are seeing more customers walk through the door. As a result, many organizations are focusing their attention on designing an interior space that fits the brand, is functional and stylish. Because modern styles are constantly changing, there are a few design trends that are current and some that are constant. Here are a few of the recent fads in retail design and how they can be incorporated for the long or short term and which ones are versatile and durable enough to stand the test of time.

Custom retail design fixtures
Shop owners are placing their premier merchandise on custom-built displays. According to Rehab Retail Design, many stores are looking to include these custom pieces because they highlight the products that are on trend or recently shipped to the store. However, displays are more than simple pieces of furniture – they need to be adaptable and, if possible, built to express the brand. 

Displays should be located where people naturally gravitate when they first enter a space. The source recommends placing key retail design fixtures in these spaces to attract the attention of customers and encourage people to stop and peruse the products. After all, it's important to encourage people to look throughout the store so that they are getting a chance to view all of the available merchandise, but not so long that the store is crowded and the turnover rate suffers. 

Create a path for customers to follow
When customers walk into a store, they often want to follow a direct path that leads them to the greatest amount of merchandise on display. A retail owner can better distribute people to the items of greatest value of purchase potential by creating custom flow paths. Using displays, walls and other pieces of furniture creatively will boost a retailer's chance of grabbing the attention of potential customers and encouraging them to take a look at the merchandise. 

Rehab Retail Design reported that interior designers need to be wary of accidentally creating a bottleneck in any location. The cash register should not be within easy view of the exit because then customers may leave the store without making a purchase once they are tired of waiting in line for a register. In addition, it's important that the lines for the registers are not blocking other customers from the merchandise. 

Incorporate the right combination of material solutions
For retailers looking to create a unique space, there is a need for durable, aesthetically pleasing features. SCULPTCOR™ by ASST provides a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that is versatile and durable. A retail owner will be able to create a much more unique space with the units because they come in a wide range of finishes. Consider using the wall panels as a statement piece in a store or to direct customers to the right display. The options are endless with the right solutions put in place. 

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance. 


In times of difficulty, like a recession, innovative thinkers are the ones who thrive – regardless of industry. In the case of retail, brands that are succeeding are putting their best foot forward by investing in innovative spaces that architecturally and aesthetically communicate the main principles of the product or service. As a result, concept stores are breaking out and becoming a trend.

Contagious Magazine reported that concept stores are succeeding because they provide consumers with a stimulating experience on multiple levels. High-end brands have known for years that the atmosphere of a retail space is almost as important as the product. As a result, companies have invested large sums of money into creating unique spaces to attract and keep the attention of consumers. Brands are focusing their attention on making radical and attractive spaces with the use of explosive architectural vision, reported HongKiat.com, a design blog. Nothing proves the existence of a product, service or brand like the physical embodiment of that entity.

For example, the Chevy Chase Mall Pavilion in Maryland has recently been completed by ASST. Working closely with the design firm streetsense and general contractor, Hitt Contracting, ASST assisted with the design, fabrication and installation of a 3Form translucent media wall, escalators, stair wells, walnut wood casework, upholstered seating and a new prime location for Starbucks Coffee in the middle of the action. ASST is proud to have been awarded a Washington Building Congress Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship on this challenging project. Be sure to visit ASST's new website www.asst.com to view more images of this innovative project and to learn more about the product solutions and fabrication services ASST offers.