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.