6 Urban Retail Design Examples to Inspire Your Brand

6 Urban Retail Design Examples to Inspire Your Brand
by Adam Fabianski / March 21, 2022

For retailers, compelling design has always been crucial in attracting customers to an urban storefront. The right signage and displays can draw customers into a store for the first time. Shelving, cabinetry, and lighting can display products in a purposeful way. Thoughtful technological additions, such as digital check-in or order ahead options, can improve the overall customer experience and make day-to-day operations easier and more efficient for workers.

Now, thanks to innovations in custom fabrication, urban retail design has evolved to include even more inventive components, ranging from digital displays to custom wall art installations to one-of-a-kind furniture and much more. 

It’s now possible for companies to design an inspired space that not only helps the customer fulfill their objective for visiting the store, but leads them through a one-of-a-kind retail experience. 

Brands are Innovating with Urban Retail Design

From fashion to technology, retailers within every industry are finding new and innovative ways to create a memorable retail space. With fabrication technology such as 3D printing and CNC machining, studios can create anything from shelving to sculptures, allowing brands to experiment with their spaces with refreshing aesthetic changes, as well as functional components. In this article, we’ll discuss a number of inspiring examples of modern urban retail design that brands can use to brainstorm their own concepts. 

Refurbished Apple Store in Rome, Italy

Apple, known for its modern storefronts across the world, experimented with a bold idea at its store located in Rome, Italy. In Italy, Apple shows how new design and history can align by integrating 1890s murals, frescos, and graffiti works into its signature modern, minimalist look. Housed in a Palazzo, a building with an architectural style dating back to the Renaissance, Apple’s retail space utilizes classic Roman design elements, such as arches and vaults, as well as high-quality materials, including wood and marble. A number of full-service design studios have the capabilities required to follow the same example, finding creative ways to infuse existing components and traditional ideas with new thinking.

Minimalist Wine Shop in Porto, Portugal

When many people think of vineyards, they imagine rolling hills, grape vines, and oak barrels. Portugal Vineyards, based in Porto, Portugal, took the near opposite approach in their 900 sq. ft storefront. The circular, minimal space uses three long, simple shelves to display their bottles of wine, complemented with bright light, allowing shoppers a 360º view. This modern urban retail design also has an online counter space where visitors can get a virtual tour of the wine warehouses. Fabrication and design studios with experience working in limited spaces can work wonders under the same constraints, finding opportunities to create maximum impact with less space.

The Jordan Store Artistic Installations in Chicago, Illinois

In an example of a life imitating art, The Jordan Store in downtown Chicago used the famous Chicago “El” public transport system to inspire it’s neon lighting and displays. Through custom fabrication, the store was transformed into an immersive shopping experience for sports lovers with a custom-fixture-shoe-alcove and rigged trussing. This type of urban retail design is a great example of a company using the location of a retail space to inspire the look, feel, and energy of a retail activation. 

Hermès Luxury Customizations in Toronto, Canada

The Hermès store in Toronto is an expansive space that replaced another retail store. The original components of the store were stripped and rebuilt, presenting an opportunity to create a custom space to meet the wants and needs of a luxury brand. Using a simple beige rose brickwork facade, large, recessed windows, and a luxurious oval staircase with marble steps, the retail design of the space now speaks to the sophistication and refinement of the Hermès brand. A full-service design studio with experience managing the design, visualization, and build process can provide guidance and expertise on transforming an existing space.

Anthropologie and Plant Display in Kent, England

Anthropologie’s “local store” concept offers both a shopping and social aspect, expanding retail space with a furniture section, wellness center, and bridal boutique, as well as a studio that has opportunities for customers to take studio classes. The inviting, welcoming space starts at the door, with an enticing window display that at one location, includes large hanging plants. The custom installation, which gives the exterior a bright, sunny exterior, is a great example of how purpose-built components can be used to create an engaging environment in an outside setting.

Officine Universelle Buly’s Culturally Inspired Storefront in Manila, Philippines 

Officine Universelle Buly, a boutique located in Manila, Philippines, uses a range of cabinetry, shelving, materials, and styles to create an urban retail design inspired by ancestral homes in the historic neighborhoods of Boac. The impressive crown molding, wooden ceiling and floor, and marble slabs all follow Spanish and Chinese architectural styles. The large custom cabinets draw attention to products using custom lighting and glass shelves, highlighting just a few of the possibilities custom furnishings can achieve. 

Bringing Your Urban Retail Design Vision To Life

Urban retail design lends itself to complex projects with extensive details, many logistics and a lot of moving parts. While experiential marketing agencies often limit their focus to concepts and project management, a full-service design and fabrication company that owns every step of the process can effortlessly take an entire project from start to finish. 

To learn how full-service design and fabrication can take your next urban retail design project to the next level, schedule a no-pressure introduction to Bridgewater Studio today. We’ll customize a free project plan for your activation so you’ll be set up for success from the start.



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