We like to do small to medium commercial projects. And have learned a bit about what is important to business owners.
Timeliness: A commercial design project, so different in terms of clients and client needs, needs to move quickly, unlike the Apple stores on which the company invested years of planning. This included the meticulous Steve Jobs scrapping all his plans after seeing a better way. But there is no denying that the Apple Store layout and finishes show both efficiency and beauty in a crowded and popular destination shopping spot. So I examined his process.
Special-ness: Apple stores offer a Genius Bar for technical support, and free product workshops for the public. The Apple Stores have, according to an article in The New York Times, been responsible for “[turning] the boring computer sales floor into a sleek playroom filled with gadgets.” These stores have a standardized appearance with white or light wood tables and a minimal design. The sales folks walk around with tablets and there is not much wait time at all to buy and get going.
Special-ness and your business: Why not? Why be pedestrian when it costs no more, with good design, to be special. For example, my own personal services business design highest gripe is ugly manicure salons. So I won’t get into big trouble, I don’t go around town taking phone snaps of ugly salons, or heaven forbid, unclean workstations. But wouldn’t you, and your customers, prefer to be here, at the salon in the photo? It does not cost more to be tasteful. It takes design guidance to get to where you want to be. And can cost less.
Looks Expensive! You may be looking at this and thinking “wow, this looks expensive!” I guarantee that it could easily be less than the grotesque pedicure all-in-one-soak-your-feet-and give-you-a-brutal-back-massage contraptions we encounter in pedicure stations. Yes, this has custom upholstery (a good thing) but the little sinks are pretty standard small sinks, as are the gooseneck faucets. This is for the small service business owners: Let’s talk design, for function and beauty, for increasing customers and for their happiness and satisfaction.
One example, not such a small business: Lucchese leased a 1899 bank building on the east side of the Santa Fe Plaza, to move from a small location two blocks off the plaza. An upscale western, not cowboy, environment was the goal. Comfort, spaciousness, ease of fittings, a sense of the history of the company were part of the design program here. It’s nice to feel a sense of that history while being fitted for $1000 plus boots. We added blow-ups on scrim of famous folks doing exactly that, and had a lot of fun in the process. As well as portraits of the founders, and memorabilia from company archives.