Resonant, Relevant and Reflective Store of the Future

Our work designing major commercial centers and boutiques across the globe offers a view to the future of retail environments – a vision to the store of the future.    

 From Globalization to Localization 

Consumer reduction in discretionary spending, a desire to travel shorter distances to shop and focus on quality and sustainability are driving interest in localization.  The store of the future will reflect its community, culture and landscape, while opening a window to the world. The store will be an engaging and dynamic heart of the community, a world portal radiating outward the dynamic energy of its world within.  The store will reflect the spirit of the community through orchestrated transparency and containment, projecting the life of the store inside-out, both to passers- by, and to those that are on their way to an iconic community destination.  


Dailan Pier Re-development, Dalian, China

 On this pier redevelopment in the major port city of Dalian, China, historic register buildings are re-used for artist residence, workshops and gallery spaces.  The new buildings include soho (small office home office) work-live spaces, retail, residential, hotel, and community gathering places.  The site sits at the intersection of land to sea trade routes. It blends a working waterfront to leisure and cultural centers, an urban environment with nature, and Dalian’s past with it’s future. 

 A sense of place and time are expressed through texture, color and materiality.  While striking on a grand scale, smaller, intimate settings are carved out to capture pleasing scents and warm voices. 

Scale shifting: 


Café at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK photography Matt Milios/NBBJ

As retailers manage the dual challenges of rising costs and limited capital, many are investigating more profitable store formats.  Some retailers are shrinking square footage and experimenting with small-format stores as a way to encourage quicker and more frequent neighborhood shopping trips.  These smaller stores offer retailers tighter inventory control and consumers a more personalized shopping experience.


These smaller stores focus on selling to highly targeted audiences, a phenomenon known as “long tail” or “niche” retailing.  In these environments, craftsmen, designer, maker, collectors and sellers join together in collaboration.  Boutique and curated collections will be enveloped with their own highly customized spaces. Each collection, complete with unique enclosures, will be connected by both clearly articulated pathways and visual connections to new destinations. 


Opportunities for promenading and viewing, gathering and intimate connections are provided in an orchestrated procession as shoppers are pulled along a journey, from one inspiration to the next discovery.  The store will be unfused with natural and dramatic illumination, identity expressions, art installations, unique collections, gatherings and events.  The experience will be ever-changing, tied to events of the day, season and cultural celebrations.  The richness and depth of emotional and sensory experiences will create compelling memories to all those who enter.   


Daelim Ttukseom, mixed use development, Seoul, Korea