Retail, at its heart, is all about coming together. Initially, the shopkeeper’s vision comes together with a talented crew of behind-the-scenes operators – all the decorators and electricians and architects conspiring to make this dream come true. Then, after the launch, it becomes the customer’s domain. People will meet up in the store before going out for lunch. People will meet and fall in love there. New businesses will be formed. New ideas will be hatched.
In this regard, a shopfitter like PortView‘s fit-out specialist Simon Campbell, falls somewhere between a party planner, a therapist, a structural engineer, and a seer.
“Collaboration between all the specialists on a fit-out project is essential. No project can succeed unless the professionals work together to realise the retailer’s investment and bring the designer’s vision for outlet to life on time, on budget and to a quality standard,” as Campbell told Retail-Focus.co.uk recently.
At times, Campbell’s work is more like installation art than shopfitting, such as Campbell’s work at the Fortnum & Mason’s beauty floor, pictured at the top of the article. Campbell’s team savored the opportunity to preserve F&M’s wide-open floor plan, with a bright and airy look. Keeping things open was one of the major challenges, which PortView’s team of shopfitters negotiated by keeping all of the shop’s activities behind hoardings, preserving the minimalist aesthetic.
A custom chandelier would prove to be the other most significant challenge facing the shopfitters – a challenge over which they clearly triumphed. Despite the lightweight, steel-and-chrome design, there is some heavy lifting going on, with a steel grid beneath the ceiling, supporting the massive chandelier, which also boasts an innovative control system.
Speaking of the future of shopfitting, Andy Shaw from the retail services group Styles&Wood spoke on the rising trend of e-commerce and physical retail working hand-in-hand, “The convergence between e-commerce and brick and mortar stores, as part of the continued drive by retailers to hone their omnichannel strategies, is placing new demands on fit-out contracts. In addition to the increasing need to integrate click and collect points, more retailers are encouraging customers to browse online offers while in-store – helping to mitigate against the showrooming phenomenon. This, coupled with a need to maximise service lines in smaller shops as the trend to favour convenience stores rather than out-of-town superstores continues, is seeing rising demand for tablet and desktop devices to be featured in prominent locations in shops.’