June 4, 2007

An Architect Confesses!

You have probably read my views on the trouble with architects. (See Disasters article.) They tend to make their design more important than the merchandise.

Now here's confirmation in print from an architect who agrees with me and has seen the light.

The following is an excerpt from the May 2007 issue of Visual Merchandising & Store Design magazine featuring an interview with David Kepron. He is a principal at the Philadelphia based architecture firm, SPG3. Kepron earned his architecture degrees from McGill University in Montreal and is an active member of the American Institute of Architects.

What has been your biggest challenge as a designer?

"Early on, it was understanding that store design wasn't all about me, the design and the architecture. I had to learn to let go of a series of messages learned in college that, as an architect, I should be saving the world from itself. I've learned to see the customer, the merchandise and the brand as the stars and that the things I design play a supporting role in their show."

How do you measure the success of a store design?

"When walking in the store, if the customer can understand the product assortment, navigate the space with ease and have the brand environment resonate in a corporeal way, while the cash register rings constantly, then you've got success."

Kudos to Mr. Kepron. I'm thrilled to see that there are some architects out there who do understand what their role should be in retail design.

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