Making space work
Much of our waking lives are spent in commercial buildings.
You would think that we would work hard to make them special.
In the same way we work on our domestic space.
Home is usually where we feel most comfortable.
But commercial space is often where we feel most alienated and uninspired.
Not great for a businesses that want their people to innovate and pull together in strong teams.
Not great if you want your customers to be engaged in what you have to offer.
We can help you bring your brand, product and vision to life for them.
From there to here
The Big Guys
In the 10 years before Remodel, we put together complex retail interiors for national and international clients. Levi’s, Timberland, Karen Millen, Whistles and others. We travelled all over the world for our respective design agencies. These were dream jobs for young designers. It took one exceptional opportunity to put this work into perspective.
Now and again, a big corporate will try something new, creating a one off space with the best creative people they can find. If they do it right, they will leave that team alone, give them a great product to sell, and an ambitious goal.
We worked on one such retail project and it was a changing experience. Hard to go back to the identikit roll-out mentality. Hard not to deal direct with a client. To struggle with them to achieve their dream. To give as much weight to the character of the space as to the commercial model.
We’d found what we wanted to do.
The Small Guys
In 2007 we started Remodel with a simple goal. Go and find more of this work. With people who didn’t think of shops as a room with shelves in, but as a living room for their brand or idea. People who were frustrated with the sterilised approach to selling space.
We wrote one letter, and from that letter came a stream of work an order of magnitude more diverse than anything we had done before. We will always be grateful to James Lynch and David Hieatt for getting us started on this journey.
Now many of our clients are not retailers at all, or at least only in part. The idea of bringing space to life resonates beyond just retail. In building industry speak, we work in Leisure, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Retail and Office space.
In reality though we are finding that these sectors are becoming blurred as our clients customise their space use. The distinction between sectors isn’t as clear as it was, and interiors are more hybrid and open to change.
Who are they?
We work with people who understand the importance of connecting with their customers in a physical space. People who are left uninspired by what business does to buildings. They want to create places their customers want to be.
They are mainly retailers or combine retail with another offer. They sometimes manufacture or provide services. They are entrepreneurs and innovators. They are passionate changemakers in corporations. They all use space to sell.
The web and mobile communications are starting to transform how companies use buildings. Our clients are asking themselves what comes next? How will retail have to develop to thrive in the next decade? They are figuring out that their space is just one way of capturing the revenues they need to succeed.
What are they doing?
They are exploiting niches, going deeper into the idea of service, and using their space for product expos and demonstrations. They are building a community of followers that use their space as a base.
They are learning that customers still crave physical connection as long as it’s worth the trip. They don’t underestimate the value of welcoming a customer into their space and what they can learn from them during that time.
And they are taking us with them, ‘beyond retail’. Finding and working with these people is inspiring. It fuels our creative energy.
Space that comes to life
Our Clients Vision
People don’t bond with space that doesn’t come to life for them in some way.
Strategic planning, business goals, and the ROI are essential. They give us something to kick against, but they can also sterilise buildings. We also need clients to bring their humanity and their love for what they do.
We ask our clients, ‘Why this business now? This product? This project?’ ‘What does it mean to you and your customers?’ This is the human stuff that will give their space depth, richness and complexity.
It’s as important as commercial viability. It’s the source of experiences that will live in the memory.
In our journey we’ve discovered a truth that unites all our clients. They have all said in one way or another, ‘Most commercial space is dead, lifeless, fake. Can we bring it to life?’
The importance of ‘IT’
Let’s go back to that first project. The one that lit the fire for us. What made it so good?
2 weeks, 18 hour days and finally we opened that store. He calls. ‘You did it again’ he said, exchanged a few more words and hung up. It took us 5 years to figure out what ‘it’ meant.
‘It’ was the particular space, the building. Its character, history and context.
‘It’ was our client. Set free from his team to go and create something new.
‘It’ was the products. Beautifully designed and focussed on a clear market.
‘It’ was an idea bigger than just a space. There was a vision for where it might go.
‘It’ had a cultural purpose.
‘It’ went well beyond stocking shelves. Beyond being a merchant. Beyond retail.
‘It’ felt more like a home. Individual, personal, with owners that cared.
The antithesis of a commercial space. These are the ingredients that bring space to life. That explain to your customer why you do what you do.
I have a background in commercial interior design. I’ve worked for high profile design agencies and architectural practices. I founded Remodel LTD in 2007. I love how people use, adapt and change their buildings. I’m a lifelong fell runner and cyclist.
I worked on high end retail interiors in London. Then changed the direction of my career to work on public sector projects in education, police facilities, and hospitals. I joined Remodel LTD in 2012. Music is my thing.