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Faced with the challenge of e-commerce, high street shops are redesigning interiors to create amazing retail experiences.

The transformative power of the Internet is perhaps most visible in a shop near you. E-commerce has profoundly changed the customer’s journey to purchase, so retailers are keeping stores relevant by creating physical spaces that go beyond the transaction.

They are trying to reinvent the in-store shopping experience by providing a sensorial experience that online boutiques cannot give their customers. In this battle, the atmosphere and design of a store can be the deciding factor into generating higher value purchases, greater traffic and increased customer loyalty. 

   Sørlandssenteret  The Loop
   Cineworld  Quick Service Restaurants
  ROCKFON Color-all Special 

    SØRLANDSSENTERET

      A seamless shopping experience

      Versatility, flexibility and coherence are key considerations for the design of shopping centres. This was certainly the case for SØRLANDSSENTERET, Norway’s largest shopping centre located in Sørlandsparken outside Kristiansand. Designed by LPO Architects, the 112,500 m² building combines the renovated existing centre with an extensive new wing, its sculptural form integrated into the undulating landscape. The starting point for the interior design was to create a light, airy atmosphere to accentuate the retail experience. This applies particularly to the shared spaces where visitors can rest between shopping. Here, the aim was to provide a calm atmosphere with views to the outside and between floors and daylight where possible.

      A clean design dominated by white and the use of simple, consistent materials brings cohesion, continuity and clarity to the interior. Used for the shared spaces, the ROCKFON Sonar CDX (Concealed X-edge) grid ceiling system fulfils both aesthetic and functional requirements.

      ROCKFON Sonar X made it possible to create an expansive and continuous white ceiling, which heightens the sense of light and improves acoustics across the food court bridge (1,200 m²) and in the five-storey atrium (1,000 m²). Minimal gaps between tiles and integration of lighting and services enable a seamless appearance. Being demountable, the system is particularly convenient in the food court, as it avoids troublesome renovations when hospitality concepts change.

      “They’re ideal for situations where
      a large, uninterrupted ceiling plane is required”

      In the Norwegian climate, the use of ROCKFON avoids cracked ceilings that result when the steel roof structure flexes under snow loads. Reduced construction time and increased safety on site resulted as the system could be easily installed in the high atrium using only mechanical lifts instead of scaffolding. “The ROCKFON ceilings integrate well with the overall design,” says Øystein Sjøstrand from LPO Architects. “They’re ideal for situations where a large, uninterrupted ceiling plane is required, the installation is particularly demanding and versatility is essential.”

      THE LOOP

        Building the future shopping experience

        In October 2013 RetailDetail, a leading Belgian portal site and platform for the retail industry opened the doors to the retail ‘experience platform’, THE LOOP. The centre provides a live simulation of future shopping concepts, based on the customer journey of future consumers, showing retailers and suppliers in a visual and tangible way how customers will make their buying decisions in the future. Jorg Snoeck, CEO of RetailDetail explains: “The visitor experiences the full customer journey with the eyes of the consumer, but also has the opportunity to look through the eyes of the retailer or producer. This journey shows what they might expect from future retail concepts.”

        The retail strategic design office JosdeVries assisted in the development of the concept and will stay involved to ensure that the concept stays dynamic and refreshing. “The retail sector has evolved enormously over the last years and if facing many challenges. Consumers are shopping in a different way than they did in the past. The shopping process is very fragmented. It is no longer about physical shops, but about an omni-channel story in which consumers decide where, when and how to make their purchases,” says Snoeck. “Today we go to the supermarket with a paper grocery list to restock our fridges after looking at the ‘special offers’ in commercial folders. But with Google glasses, body scans, drones, smart phones, 3D printers and web shops, tomorrow that will be different. The fridge will tell us what we need, and the goods in the shops will automatically find us,” he explains.

        “Shopping needs to be pleasant,
        and acoustics is a big part of that”

        THE LOOP is a permanent installation with continuously switching themes to inspire the retail industry. For the permanent structure surrounding the changing exhibitions, ROCKFON was selected to contribute one of its most innovative products, Chicago Metallic Infinity, which offers endless possibilities and design freedom. The importance of using acoustical and sustainable products in retail environments, he believes, will only increase over the next years: “Above all, shopping needs to be pleasant, and acoustics is a big part of that. Sound has become an indispensable element in the creation of a total shopping experience, making it important to isolate noise and manage the general ambient sound levels and acoustical comfort in the shopping environments. On top ROCKFON has a sound sustainable approach to the market, a topic that will only increase in importance in the future retail industry.”

        According to Snoeck, future stores will not only focus on which goods are on the shelves, but also on creating a holistic shopping environment that supports the overall brand. “All aspects of the interior contribute to determine the success of a retail concept. ROCKFON is a well-known and leading player in the retail industry. A company that is the perfect fit for the vision we have on the future of Retail.”

        CINEWORLD

          A black and white choice

          Cinema interior design is an integral part of the visitor experience and good acoustics are essential for ensuring the film can be heard and enjoyed. So when UK cinema chain CINEWORLD, opened its new multi-screen cinemas, they wanted the design to create memorable experiences for movie-goers. This meant that the cinema design had to be both visually and sonically pleasant.

          The Development Director with Britannia Construction, Philip McCabe, recommended the auditoriums be equipped with ROCKFON Color-all tiles in Charcoal colour to enhance the atmospheric surround sound. The matte black colour of the Charcoal fleece creates a dark environment that prevents light from the projector from reflecting on to the screen. “The ROCKFON Color-all ceiling tiles are ideal for this type of project. They fulfil all the acoustic and design requirements demanded by a high-tech multiplex,” he says.

          “The 1800 mm centre on the
          main runner of the ROCKFON System XL grid
          makes installation much quicker”

          Using the ROCKFON System XL grid in black, the tiles were installed at an angle to the walls to create a dramatic diamond effect. Ceiling Contractor, David Gardiner of D&G Ceilings explains that the ROCKFON grid is an ideal system for installations, which can otherwise be cumbersome: “Auditorium ceilings are always sloping and can have suspension depths of up to 6,000 mm which makes installing the suspension wires very time consuming. The 1800 mm centre on the main runner of the ROCKFON System XL grid makes installation much quicker. The ceilings look great and Cineworld are very happy with the completed work.” The system also allows for easier integration of services due to the greater distance between the hangers and opens up more design possibilities for the use of larger module sizes.

          To create a welcoming, contemporary look for the new cinemas, the foyers of the new complexes will be outfitted with 15 mm thick ROCKFON Artic stone wool tiles which have a smooth white surface for optimum light reflection.

          QUICK SERVICE RESTAURANTS

            Colours on the menu

            ROCKFON contributed to the ambitious sustainability measures of a renowned international quick service restaurant during the world’s largest sporting event, the Olympic Games, in 2012. Two temporary restaurants were commissioned to cater to athletes and visitors during the event. Given the temporary nature of the project, the aim was to avoid generating waste, therefore every part of the building right down to the smallest item was reused or recycled. Elements including the furniture and kitchen equipment to light bulbs and switches were reused in new and existing outlets across the UK after the event.

            This accounted for around 75% of the building, with almost everything else being recycled, including the ROCKFON ceiling tiles. The ROCKFON Color-all range was selected for its acoustics, aesthetic and ease of installation, and most importantly, its full recyclability. Around 1,200 m2 of ROCKFON Color-all ceiling panels in Charcoal colour (1200x600 mm) were specified for the larger restaurant and 480 m2 of ROCKFON Color-all in Chalk were installed in the smaller outlet. Essential for busy, fast food restaurants with high volumes of visitors, the tiles offer very high sound absorption, along with excellent fire safety and humidity resistance.

            “ROCKFON Color-all collection
            enabled the design of an interior with coloured ceilings
            that perfectly fit the restaurant’s brand design”

            Using the ROCKFON Color-all collection enabled the design of an interior with coloured ceilings that perfectly fit the restaurant’s brand design. The ceiling tiles risked damage after installation and dismantling, making them more difficult to re-use, therefore recycling was the strategy here. The fully recyclable ROCKFON ceiling tiles were returned to the ROCKWOOL production facility and processed through its own upcycling service.

            ROCKFON worked closely with the main contractor, Barlow Group, to coordinate the return of all ceilings to the ROCKWOOL factory in South Wales when the restaurants were decommissioned. The 24 pallets of returned materials were then crushed and combined with raw materials to create new high performance ROCKWOOL products, without any loss of quality.

            ROCKFON Color-all Special


            Jenny Brookes, ROCKFON
            UK Area Marketing Manager
            We know that the use of colour can dramatically enhance the design and atmosphere of a room, so in 2013 we developed the ROCKFON Color-all® range to make coloured ceilings easily available to designers. The range offers 34 beautiful colours organised in six themes with different tones that all link to contemporary design trends. These 34 colours are available in a variety of dimensions and with different edge types – all with an improved smooth and matte fleece surface that portrays colours in their true expression.

            However, we also noticed that designers still requested a wider selection of custom colours. Finding inspiration all around them in their everyday lives, the choice of 34 standard colours wasn’t sufficient to truly offer the full design flexibility they desire. That was our motivation for expanding the ROCKFON Color-all range with our bespoke colour service, ROCKFON Color-all Special.

            Using the Natural Colour System®© (NCS) at every step of the manufacturing process, the Color-all Special service gives designers the freedom to specify ceilings and matching suspension grids in any colour and get a perfect match every time. Customers just have to supply us with an NCS reference, and we will do the rest.

              THE BEAUTY INSIDE

              Revealing the beauty inside renovations and new builds
               
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