Jo Pen­ny­cuick, Re­design Group

VM&RD gets in con­ver­sa­tion with Jo Pen­ny­cuick, MD, Re­design Group which is an in­ter­na­tional de­sign firm fo­cus­ing on de­sign of F&B out­lets and re­tail spa­ces. With of­fices spread across a few coun­tries, Re­design Group also has a branch of­fice in Gur­gaon. VM

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How are your de­signs con­cep­tu­alised to de­liver cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence?

We’ve been in this business for 16 years which has set up an ex­pe­ri­ence base for us. For F&B and re­tail out­lets we have de­vel­oped an un­der­stand­ing of the con­sumer re­quire­ments. We re­alise and im­ple­ment the im­pact of shop fronts on high streets and malls and how they re­quire dif­fer­ent ap­proaches. Our F&B de­signs showcase the main fo­cus which is the good food. Our de­signs work with show­cas­ing the fu­ture of food-based re­tail in F&B out­lets and for re­tail stores ex­plor­ing the dis­play de­signs as per client spec­i­fi­ca­tions works the charm.

What cus­tomer re­search do you do for your de­signs?

Usu­ally ad­her­ing to client briefs works best for our de­signs. But our ex­pe­ri­ence in this in­dus­try dates way back. When clients need guid­ance to cater to cus­tomer needs, our ex­pe­ri­ence proves to be quite valu­able. It mat­ters what el­e­ments the client wants to bring to the fore in the de­sign. We don’t re­ally follow any 'trend' re­search, but a strong un­der­stand­ing of the client’s brief and needs is brought out in the de­signs.

How does your de­sign ap­proach vary be­tween dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories?

For F&B we have a very strong knowl­edge base of how a restau­rant or café should be ap­proached for func­tion­al­ity of the space based on the ca­pac­ity they want for the space. For re­tail we work specif­i­cally to un­der­stand the re­tailer’s ex­pec­ta­tions as to what zones would be there and we plan space man­age­ment which is quite a cru­cial as­pect when it comes to re­tail. We also take a strate­gic ap­proach to­wards the de­sign of re­tail spa­ces where spa­ces are planned to max­imise sales as well.

What chal­lenges do you face with ex­e­cu­tion of de­signs in re­tail spa­ces?

We don’t seem to have a lot of chal­lenges. We have con­trac­tors who now un­der­stand our work­ing style. For re­tail, we are very used to work­ing un­der pres­sure as re­tail is a very time re­stricted seg­ment and so we have a very tight sched­ule to work on re­tail projects. We usu­ally have 5-12 weeks to com­plete the project from de­sign to ex­e­cu­tion to com­ple­tion.

How do you bring about a cul­tural con­text in your de­signs world­wide?

We con­sider a cul­tural in­fu­sion in de­sign as a very in­te­grated fea­ture. The fact that we have of­fices sit­u­ated in dif­fer­ent parts is a great help. Also, when­ever we en­ter a new mar­ket we do a lot of mar­ket re­search to bring in an ap­par­ent cul­tural con­text in the de­sign of the store. An un­der­stand­ing of the peo­ple in the cul­ture, mar­ket trends, and con­sumer re­quire­ments are all tools which nav­i­gate our de­sign ap­proach. In In­dia we have an en­tire team of lo­cals work­ing on projects and so it is quite easy to bring in the cul­ture in our In­dian projects. Also, the In­dian team works closely with the New Zealand team and so an in­ter­na­tional ap­proach fused with in­dige­nous ac­cents can be brought through. We travel a lot as well and do mar­ket re­search for var­i­ous cul­tures. For new projects in re­mote coun­tries, we in­take a lot of cul­tural un­der­stand­ing from the clients. As the MD of Re­design group, I make sure that my in­volve­ment with all projects is re­alised.

What is your take on the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try?

I think the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try is mov­ing for­ward day by day. There is a lot of grace in the de­signs and it is mov­ing to­wards global stan­dards with more and more in­ter­na­tional brands com­ing in. In my opin­ion, the re­tail in­dus­try in In­dia is quite open to in­no­va­tions and ex­plo­rations in the de­sign of re­tail spa­ces. They want to achieve a new level with new de­signs and brands seep­ing into the mar­ket. We have worked with the Mumbai in­ter­na­tional air­port and we are work­ing with Ban­ga­lore, Hy­der­abad and Delhi in­ter­na­tional air­ports as well. Through our ex­pe­ri­ence with them we can sense an in­ter­na­tional de­sign flair which is com­ing in.

Since you’re present in the In­dian mar­ket since 2007, what progress do you see in the re­tail sec­tor over the years?

There is ex­po­nen­tial progress in the re­tail in­dus­try. The size and num­ber of malls have in­creased in­cred­i­bly. Also, the el­e­gance in de­signs is more re­fined. In Gur­gaon, where our of­fice is based, we see tremen­dous de­vel­op­ment in terms of cop­ing up with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. In­dia is a pro­gres­sive mar­ket and that is one of the rea­sons we have our of­fice in In­dia. It takes time for any in­ter­na­tional de­sign company to make its name in the mar­ket and we have and still are work­ing re­ally hard for it. With in­ter­na­tional brands, newer ideas and grow­ing glob­al­i­sa­tion, we do get an edge in the In­dian mar­ket.

What are the ma­te­rial pref­er­ences th­ese days in the re­tail de­sign in­dus­try?

Ma­te­rial fin­ishes as what I see in Aus­trala­sia is go­ing back to ba­sics. A rus­tic pal­ette is quite a charm th­ese days. Nat­u­ral el­e­ments and ar­ti­fi­cial fin­ishes which give a nat­u­ral look are quite common pref­er­ences. For re­tail, easy-to-use ma­te­ri­als which give quick re­sults make a lot of sense con­sid­er­ing the time­line we work with. Apart from the aes­thet­ics, prac­ti­cal is­sues like time and labour also have to be looked into, and so ma­te­ri­als which can be used quickly and are eas­ily avail­able work well. Pol­ished con­crete, fin­ished cedar and tim­ber, in­dus­trial light­ing, high gloss lac­quer, steel and pressed steel pan­el­work are few of our pref­er­ences.

How does de­sign work as a business tool for re­tail­ers?

We are very aware that de­sign can drive business for re­tail­ers. In this in­dus­try change is manda­tory and a lot of brands make mi­nor or ma­jor changes ev­ery once in a while. It is a tool to drive more cus­tomers into the store, com­pelling their cu­rios­ity. From the front sig­nage to in­te­rior dis­plays, all changes can take business to a new level.

We do a lot of re­fur­bish­ment projects in re­tail which are based on the client’s needs for change. The de­sign process has to en­sure a last­ing value for that de­sign. Fu­tur­is­tic plan­ning is re­quired and we have to be sure that the de­sign would work even after 5-6 years. It also de­pends on the client’s bud­get and their mar­ket­ing plan. Even­tu­ally, what is im­por­tant is that he should get value for what he’s spend­ing.

How do you bal­ance the func­tion­al­ity as­pects and the aes­thetic ap­peal in your de­signs?

I think func­tion­al­ity and aes­thet­ics go hand in hand. Based on the bud­get given by the client, we al­lo­cate cer­tain amount to dif­fer­ent as­pects of de­sign to strike a bal­ance. It is only then that a de­sign flair comes through and we can de­liver a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence for the cus­tomer. It is very im­por­tant to get the equa­tion right.

How do you en­sure that the client gets the re­turn on in­vest­ment in the de­sign of their re­tail space?

When a cus­tomer walks into the store, it is our job to com­ple­ment the back­ground and the fix­tures and other sup­port­ing el­e­ments with the prod­ucts on of­fer. A deep un­der­stand­ing of brand val­ues, his­tory and fu­ture goals helps us to re­fine the ap­proach to­wards de­sign and guides us to de­liver suc­cess­ful de­signs.

Tell us about some of your projects in In­dia

We are work­ing with a chain of dough­nut re­tail kiosks and stores and also a lo­cal cater­ing company that ser­vices can­teens of large cor­po­ra­tion that cater to some 8,000 peo­ple a day.

Jo Pen­ny­cuick, MD Re­design Group

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