Ajay Shah

Founder - Prin­ci­ple De­signer, Ajay Shah De­sign Stu­dio


In Ret­ro­spect: 2012

First, it is im­por­tant for me to ex­plain the changes we have felt within the re­tail in­dus­try-large for­mat re­tail de­sign has been com­modi­tized and de­sign + im­ple­men­ta­tion has be­come a mech­a­nized sys­tem-vir­tu­ally leav­ing lit­tle space for in­no­va­tion. Se­condly, in­ter­na­tional for­mats have en­tered the mar­ket bring­ing their own re­tail iden­ti­ties which have been fine tuned and are now stan­dard­ized for im­ple­men­ta­tion world­wide. And fi­nally smaller or bou­tique for­mats ei­ther work with lower bud­gets or lesser turn around-leav­ing very lit­tle scope for de­sign or re­al­iza­tion.

At our stu­dio, we have now shifted our at­ten­tion to ex­plor­ing de­sign, less from an in­te­rior per­spec­tive, and more from an iden­tity one. This shift is slow and in­volves work­ing with clients in a grad­ual fash­ion.

Ar­rival of FDI

I have a sense that with global brands bring­ing an evolved de­sign to the re­tail busi­ness, lo­cal brands will have to re­fresh them­selves and bring to­gether a com­pre­hen­sive de­sign strat­egy and an ap­pli­ca­tion of de­sign plus strat­egy to their busi­ness. I feel re­tail de­sign will move to a more ma­ture busi­ness and the de­sign of­fer­ings will be­come more valu­able.

Look­ing Ahead: 2013

Re­search into good prac­tices in re­tail de­sign is a must. Most In­dian de­sign firms will have to wit­ness good de­sign across brands and for­mats, gain a larger un­der­stand­ing of what it means to un­der­stand mer­chan­dise and cus­tomer be­hav­ior pat­terns. The present prac­tice of the de­signer be­ing the im­ple­menter or the fix­ture pro­ducer is also in some sense im­pact­ing the growth of re­tail de­sign. Ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional sup­pli­ers for fix­tures and sup­ports will al­low the In­dian de­sign firms to learn more and evolve.

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