Surface Detail

When commissioning new shop units and shop refits, one of the more enjoyable parts is making those all-important design decisions. This is the opportunity for you to flex your creative muscles a little, and to think about how you want your finished shop to look and feel.

The surfaces and finishes you choose need to fulfil a lot of different functions, so it’s worth giving them some serious thought. Here are five considerations to help you balance the parameters in a way that will work with your goals.

You can spend as much money as you want on the most expensive and unique surfaces and finishes. Don’t be tempted into ‘glitzing up’ your store & showing off with Italian marble countertops or hand-printed wallpaper unless you have sound justifications for your choices. It’s perfectly possible to achieve expensive looking finishes without breaking the bank, with a little creative imitation.

Sometimes surfaces actually need to do a physical job as well as complementing your designs. For example, countertops need to be abrasion resistant to prevent them from becoming scuffed and scrappy over time, shelves and display units for fabrics and clothes need to be smooth and snag-free. Consider how you want your shop to sound and feel, as well as look! You can use surfaces to deaden reverberations and create a hushed, soft atmosphere, textured surfaces can provide cues for vision-impaired people, and light, reflective surfaces can redirect ambient light into any shady nooks and crannies.

Surfaces don’t just put up with physical wear. Repeated touching, strong sunlight, cleaning agents, spillages, and heat will damage many surfaces, causing discolouration, fading, cracking, and delamination. Your shopfitting supplier will have access to a huge number of surface materials and can help you pick the variations with the best resilience characteristics for the use case.

Designing a successful shop layout and look relies on several factors – ergonomics, aesthetics, psychology, construction and graphic design to name a few. Bringing these together into a single, coherent, design is difficult. If you need to create a real impact on people entering the store, then your choice of surface and finish will be integral to that. If you want to be bold with your choices, then there are plenty of options available, from crushed velvet to carbon fibre or stainless steel treadplate. On the other hand, you might want low impact finishes and surfaces to create a more inviting, conventional atmosphere.

This is where most people start when selecting a surface or finish – how it will look. Aesthetics are notoriously subjective, but experienced suppliers understand how to communicate a certain look and feel without over-egging the unique features, fixtures and finishes. Always remember to consider the design as a whole, and not get fixated on whether to have gold or silver-flecked black marble walls. The most luxurious, premium finish may look fantastic on a sample, but when it’s applied across a whole shop, the result can be overwhelming like strong perfume.

Of course, there are many ways to think about and pick the surface finishes that will be such a large part of the look and feel of your refit. These are simply a few jumping-off points to help you decide!

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