The Interior Design MA programme at the RCA has teamed up with retail brand Topshop to re-design the Boutique area of its Oxford Street store in time for London Fashion Week in February.
The competition was given to the first group of students starting the Interior Design programme, led by Ab Rogers, as part of a live retail design project. Students were given just five days to create an interior system that would encourage shoppers to engage with Boutique clothing and provide an inspirational and stimulating customer experience.
The winning concept by Rob Vinall incorporates a triangular modular ceiling grid able to support hung elements for the products. The grid system allows the Boutique to change over time by altering the space to suit different collections and events.
"The initial concept was an idea of cause and effect, giving importance to the elements of hanging and balance," explained Vinall. "The design needed to enhance and give prominence to the detail of the clothing, whilst also being a functional and interesting space to shop and browse."
The wall graphic has a colour gradation printed onto mirror that matches the colour pallet of the triangular ceiling to allude to the concept of a top-heavy level above. The installation also breaks out into the main shop floor to entice customers into the Boutique.
"The genius of Rob's design is to hang the merchandise from a suspended grid to remove everything off the floor," Ab Rogers commented. "It's an antidote to classic retail design where most display systems have large unfilled volumes of space above them. The grid creates discipline and precision bringing elegance and calm to the Boutique's interior. Live projects are essential to postgraduate education in interior design. They allow students to experience the rigours of designing for a commercial environment and negotiating with clients as well as pushing the boundaries to create dynamic solutions that go beyond the requirements of the brief."