Wow, with so much fantastic stuff at the Natural History Museum here in London, how could one not be inspired? These old display cases and vitrines with stuffed birds are incredible. OK, I'm not particularly au fait with stuffed animals myself and these Humming birds have seen better days, but wow, what wonderful applications this could have as Visual Merchandising and within Retail Interiors for that gorgeous boutique look. Refreshed, cleansed, inspired what better way is there to spend an afternoon.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
While wandering around the Natural History Museum I came across this Exhibition. I have included it here simply because of the fact that it contains products and also because of the way the Exhibition has included some interesting elements that could work quite well in a Commercial space. It is therefore really worth applying a 'detective' approach to sourcing inspiration for new concepts in some of these unexpected places. Sure, the Exhibition contains elements which may not immediately seem to relate to the shopping experience such as maintaining soil, drilling holes for water and the demand for living space. However, what the Exhibition does do is tackle some of the issues based on human needs and managing the environment. Every day we throw away countless objects made from the Earth's raw materials and the Exhibition explores how much we consume and how we can manage this effectively. Perhaps this is something which some retailers don't wish to hear as well as hungry-for-stuff-type-customers. Although, I do feel that we do need to look at the whole area of Commercial Interiors and Visual Merchandising in a far more holistic way and understand the consequences of the convenience that we all enjoy so much. This Exhibition does that.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Housed within the Natural History Museum here in London are the most incredible collection of natural forms such as these. Very often, within a Commercial context we see these kind of formations used to display small products such as jewellery. (I must say here that I am quite tired of seeing this personally). It is understandable, I suppose for a small independent retailer which undoubtedly will not have huge budgets to lavish on developing a new scheme every few weeks as the seasons, products, events and so on change, however much larger and established retailers also tend to follow this route. What I encourage my students to do is to look at these objects purely as the initial starting point from which to develop a concept rather than these becoming the concept itself - otherwise there is no concept. Ideas can literally spark from studying natural forms if one is willing to view them openly, and identifying shape, form, content, colour etc. from which to draw inspiration providing a much richer experience for the shopper and pushing the boundaries of our current understanding of what Visual Merchandising is or can become.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
The Natural History Museum is not just about prehistoric skeletons, rocks and stuffed animals. Some of the more contemporary exhibits are particularly relevant to my students subject area. Here we have an example of a simulated commercial space in Japan. Every few minutes, the floor begins to shake, the products rattle on the shelves and one is able to experience (at least to a point) what it may feel like to be within these spaces during an earth quake. It probably is a rather gentle experience in comparison to the reality, however, what these kinds of environments do is to promote thoughts and ideas about where were we can move next within Commercial Design. While of course this topic is perhaps a rather sensitive one considering the current situation in Haiti, we can perhaps use the concept of these kind of exhibits to enhance the thrill and experience of the shopper. It does of course need to be targeted carefully and these kind of experiences can become tiresome very quickly. However, the use of natural phenomena within a Commercial space? Who knows, lets see who does it first.
Monday, 25 January 2010
In order to explain to my students the process and principles of three dimensional design, I find that places such as the Natural History Museum are a fantastic resource to begin to identify quite literally the bare bones of the process. Students had the opportunity to study these skeletons with words such as Repetition, Radiation, Curvilinear and so on at the forefront of their minds and with the knowledge that they were going to use these observational drawings to begin moving from the two dimensional drawings to three dimensional models. One may question how this relates to Visual Merchandising or Commercial Interior Design? However, what I want to do here is encourage the group, not to literally take some of these objects and place them in store - as we all too often see - but to begin to use these objects as the staring point of their inspiration and begin to test and experiment, include and exclude ideas and begin to really understand how to become Designers or at least understand the difference between 'good' design - establishing a need and unravelling a concept and 'bad' design - simply lifting the motif.