A good example would be a service environment where customers need to linger for discussion, have adjustments made to a product, and will probably experience a wait. Without suitable functionality that includes seating, all the classy lighting, decor and color work one could splash on that environment still won’t save the day! The “beauty” is rapidly eclipsed. The rumor gains momentum: It takes too long and there is nowhere to sit! (There are many such examples, like the available chair that is lovely to look at but is decidedly uncomfortable!)
The problems are not all “out front.” Retail businesses have distinctly different, dual environments – the one where customers participate, and the one behind the scenes. They must work harmoniously to appropriately deliver to their market. Visual appeal and function are constantly in play; both must hit the mark consistently.
Your design professionals consider the primary and secondary purposes of the commercial environment they are designing with you. The primary incentive --sales of products or services -- must be supported by how that environment receives its customer or client. That customer or client needs to get a feeling from the environment that supports why they are there. Part of the challenge is obvious; some is subtle.
Initial conferences with you are structured by your design professional to explore the whole picture of your business service or product. It is important to consider all sides of the challenge. Who will be your typical customer or client? What do you know about their “expectations?” What is the best way to successfully meet those expectations? Beyond the specific product or service that you offer, what would enhance or ensure a successful transaction?
It could be as simple as the considerate placement of seating, management of the volume and style of background music or the courtesy of refreshment or a restroom where it is not typically expected.
Your designer needs to know not only how you want your commercial environment to look! How do you want it to feel? What are all the necessary functions – not just the bare-bones essential functions! What is the purpose for what you wish to convey? Does the way in which you present your environment support the services or products you are offering your market?
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo