The second year: An Introduction Into Retail Strategies

After a lovely summer off it is nice to finally be back doing what we love and getting stuck right back into the interior design course. Level 5 Interior design is all about retail strategies, and looking at how through careful design we can create an amazing customer journey suited to our target market.

So what will we do? This year will all be about expanding our knowledge and technical abilities using InDesign, Illustrator, and other relevant CAD programmes. This will be vital for the success of our second year work. We have started the course by being put into groups of 5 each being given a specific retail sector to study, ours being leisure and entertainment. We brainstormed ideas of leisure and entertainment within Sheffield and found that studying the psychology of design within the Apple retail store was an interesting case study. Primary and secondary research was then conducted to find information about how the store is so successful with its minimal design from a range of sources. When enough information is gathered this will all be collected and presented on an A1 poster to the class and tutors.

Visiting Sites

Whilst creating our A1 posters, we also need to be thinking about an idea for a retail design concept of our own choice. For inspiration we visited three sites in Sheffield in which we could chose to base our retail space, 3-50 Division Street (Bungalo’s and Bears), 22 and 24 Chapel Walk, and Charles Street sub station.

Bungalow’s and Bears

Bungalows and Bears is located on 50 Division Street, Sheffield. The former fire station is now an airy, modern pub which serves ales, cocktails, brunch and burgers to satisfy the young student crowd in Sheffield.

This site is the largest out of the three we visited making it slightly more complex to manipulate the interior.

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(anne, 2013)
Bungalos and Bears interior. (Kirkland, 2013)

The interior is quite industrial and quirky, with a large circular bar in the centre forming the heart of the space. Each piece of furniture is from a completely different era, and there doesn’t seem to be an exact material or colour scheme going on. The designers may have  wanted the space to appear to a variety of different people, for this reason this didn’t stick to an exact design scheme.

Chapel Walk

The second space we visited was on Chapel Walk, Sheffield, 22 and 24 Chapel walk can be used together to create one large space for our project proposals.

A recent photo of Chapel Walk. (Daniel, 2016)
The view down Chapel Walk in November 1974. (BBC,2009)

Above are the two spaces which we can use for our projects. It was difficult to get a photo of the interior of 22 Chapel Walk but i managed to get a shot of 24 Chapel Walk (central image). Both spaces are large, clean and empty making them easy buildings to work with. The white exterior doors and windows and wooden floors make the site ideal for my project proposal.

Charles Street Sub-Station

Charles Street Substation
South Yorkshire
Charles Street Sub-Station exterior. (Hampton, 2016)

The site is located on Charles Street, adjacent to the Sheffield Hallam University students union. The site is a double height, single storey brick construction which was a former electricity substation (Zoopla, 2016).

Type: General Leisure, General Retail

Tenure: Leasehold

Size: 715 sq ft (66 sq m)

Rent: £27.97 per sq ft (£301.11 per sq m)

Annual Rent: £20,000 (Hampton, 2016)


It was impossible to look inside the space as it is only available to view up on appointment, however we have access to the interior floorpans online.




Inspiration: Philippe Stark


Philippe Stark is a French interior designer, exploring and designing  objects from chairs to electrical appliances. His name was first known for designing the interior for former french president Francois Mitterrand’s apartment.

Some pieces of design he is most renowned for creating are the Bubble Club Sofa and Armchair, La Boheme Stool, Louis Ghost Chair, and the Ero|S| Chair.

The Bubble Club Sofa and Armchair

Stark’s Bubble Sofa and Armchair. Image available on:

Price: £353-£537

The Bubble Sofa and Armchair is a contemporary designed chair most commonly used for furnishing restaurants and public places. Popular features of the chair include being waterproof, weatherproof, and is relatively lightweight due to being made from UV resistant polypropylene. When designing the Bubble Sofa and Armchair Stark has mixed a contemporary style with a Chesterfield style, which has been incredibly successful.

La Boheme Stool

La Boheme Stool. Image available on:

Price: $250

La Boheme Stool was designed in Italy in 2001 by Philippe Stark. The stool is a designed in a classic greek vase style and comes in two different types, La Boheme Stool 2 and La Boheme Stool 3, one style has an elongated amphora with a wide base while the other holds a stout ‘Stamnos’ shape. Both designs can be purchased in varied colours including crystal, bottle green, purple and red. The stools are transparent yet beautifully aesthetic and simple, they can be used for all interiors or exteriors and add a personal, creative touch of decoration for any space.

Sparks is notable for many sensational interior design works across the globe including The Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Cafe Costes, Paris, Paradis-du-fruit, and many more remarkably designed restaurants and clubs.



Could Interior Design be the cure?

Recently i have been fixated on the idea that interior design could be the hidden answer. The idea that design could reform offenders, and cure the ill and mentally ill is something which i want to look deeper into to see if this could truly make a huge change.

Of course for any good design practice psychology must be understood to a degree in order to know how colours, tones, shapes etc. can have an impact on how the user is feeling. However, in this case the user is much more extreme, the level of the design psychology must affect the users sub-conscious mind so much so to reform them and give them hope for the future. Users include prisoners serving life sentences behind bars, although it may be thought that there is no hope for such offenders, design would have such an impact that the offenders would see the good in the bad and start to think of life differently. Giving the latter the opportunity to choose their surroundings, and even participate in the design process will put them in charge of their lives in seclusion.

People may disagree with the idea of allowing murderers, rapists etc. the opportunity to live in a nice environment, suitable to their personalities, but would rather envisage them in small gloomy rooms with nothing but a cat-flap sized window and a hard concrete floor. However, we cannot argue with psychology, and no matter how bad the offence of the user, design and the world around them would have an undoubted effect on their thoughts and actions.

A huge problem with this theory is of course, perhaps if prisons start to look to good design to reform offenders, would this not be a gateway for them to continue re-offending? The answer is no, but maybe? but no. In fact 1% of Americas whole population are in the criminal justice system in the US, and 75% of the incarcerated reenter the system within just five years of their release. Okay so this is just one statistic, but it does show that offenders may re-offend regardless of the intended unattractive design, and perhaps feel more comfortable with their offences in a miserable dark room.

Our approach of administering punishment instead of rehabilitation and reintegration isn’t working.

One prison which has already began trying to change the inmates experience through architecture and design is the Las Colinas Detention & Reentry Facility in San Diego, designed in partnership with KMD and HMC Architects. This is a revolution, and a one of a kind prison in the U.S which understands the effect of environmental and behavioural psychology in order to improve the quality of life and work inside of the facility for inmates and staff.


San Diego Women's Detention Facility
San Diego Women’s Detention Facility, Location: Santee, CA, Architect: HMC Architects

Construction Series 6: Anatomy of Stairs


Understanding stair terminology is an important skill for any designer as we will have to describe the measurements and features of these parts which presenting a design plan to potential clients.

Tread: The top or horizontal surface of a step

Nosing: The edge of the tread projecting beyond the face of the riser and the face of a cut string

Wall String: The string of a staircase fixed flush with a wall

Closed String: A string with the face trenched to accommodate treads and risers so their profile cannot be seen

String margin: The distance between the top of the string and the pitch line measured at 90 degrees to the pitch line

Going: The going of a flight of stairs is the horizontal distance between the face of the first and last risers. The individual going of a step is measured from face of riser to face of riser and for domestic use should be a minimum of 220mm

Rise: The rise of a flight is the vertical distance between the floors or landings connected by the flight The individual rise is the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of tread

Riser: The board that forms the base of the step The maximum individual rise is the vertical measurement from top of tread to top of tread

Types of Stair


Straight Stair

This is the most widespread type of staircase especially used in homes, and despite their simplicity they are convenient and functional. General rules state that the amount of stairs within one flight of stairs should not exceed 16. The use of straight stairs are only feasible to join two levels.

Quarter Landing Stair

Quarter landing stairs represent a variety of straight stairs, which also include a landing. The landing is used to change direction of the flight of stairs by 90 degrees and also provide a resting spot for people when moving up and down them.


Construction Series 3: Door construction

The third construction lecture aimed at making us consider door construction and factors to consider when installing doors.

Characteristics to consider when designing doors include:

 Fire Resistance

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Fire rated steel doors. Image available on:


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How to soundproof a basic door. Image available on:>id=100051

More include: Security; hygiene; weather; protection; thermal insulation; maintenance; access; impact resistance and durability. Doors are a very important factors during construction used to provide security and to define rooms.

Here, glass sliding room dividers have been used to divide two rooms in a house. Image available on:

Door materials

The most majorly used or materials are timber, UPVC, steel, glass, laminate, and recycled.

Door types

Hinged Doors

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Sliding Doors

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Folding Doors

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Revolving doors

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Automatic Doors

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Roller Shutters

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Up and Over Doors

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French Door Curtains. Image from:

Integrated with walls

  • metals – profiled steel
  • glass- structural glazing
  • glass – framed systems
  • man made – laminate panels

Common door accessories to also consider when installing doors are handles, locks, hinges, stops, closers, protection and signage. Different doors also require different fittings depending on the needs of the user and the purpose of the door, the door could be hinged, sliding or a double swing.

Common Door Patterns

Interior Doors1
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Glass window patterns integrated with doors. More details on:


Other door patterns. More details on:


  • door schedules

Construction Series 2: Wall Construction Materials

This is the second seminar concerning wall construction with HLM interiors, however this concentrates on specific wall construction materials

Types of walls 

Masonry Facing Brick

This is the most basic type of wall layout we see commonly within architecture. Image of the tram waiting shelter at Beamish Museum in County Durham. Image available on:

Concrete common blocks

Concrete common blocks. Image available on:


Natural Stone

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Benefits of using masonry brick for construction

There are many benefits and drawbacks of brick and block construction. One benefit being that masonry bricks are very durable and once cemented into position they are very strong and hard to break down. It would take the necessary force of a bulldozer or a vehicle to break down a masonry wall.

Another benefit is that construction using masonry brick can be, and is always done on site. This means fewer journeys are needed to pick up materials, keeping transport costs very low which means construction using concrete blocks is very environmentally friendly.

Brick and block constructions have a high thermal mass, they provide much natural thermal insulation as opposed to other construction materials such as timber which would require additional insulation, costing more money.

Masonry blocks are fire resistant and block out acoustics which is an obvious factor wanted in construction materials.

Drawbacks of using masonry brick for construction

Although masonry brick can be constructed on site, this can be quite a long process and bad weather can make the process even slower. Masonry needs enough time to dry in order for the blocks to bond together.

There is also a limit to how much insulation masonry can actually hold. The cavity containing the insulation should ideally be lower than 10cm to avoid structural issues.

Masonry wall details

Masonry wall layout and details in construction. Image available on:




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Concrete – Tiles

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Concrete – Precast

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Precast concrete panels and easy and efficient to install as they are pre-constructed off site and then transported to the site ready to be installed.

Precast concrete walls being used for construction. Image available on:–pc

Precast concrete is a very comfortable material to use for construction, it is highly thermal which means it allows a constant temperature during hot and cold seasons; the material also has acoustic insulation.

It is highly versatile so the client can decide on a variety of colours they would like the concrete to be and this can easily be done. Precast concrete can be moulded and modified to mimic classic finishes and designs.

Precast concrete is ecological, durable, and fast to erect. It is made solely of stones, gravel, cement and cement which are materials heavily available locally to most areas. These are natural materials, as they are readily available this would cut out transport costs to collect them.

Concrete – In-situ

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In-situ concrete is the most traditional form of concrete construction. It is a form of fabricating reinforced concrete by pouring liquid material into forms on site.

The process of working with in-situ concrete on site. Image available on:

Working with in-situ concrete is much lower cost than using precast concrete, the construction can also usually be performed by local contractors using local labour and materials.

Some disadvantages however are that the construction using this method is normally slower than precast of course, it is incredibly difficult to work with in-situ in cold weather especially in northern regions.

The quality of construction using in-situ, otherwise known as Cast-in place, is usually low in quality compared to pre-cast concrete.

  • metals – stainless steel – profiled steel – lead – copper – zinc

pros and cons

  • glass – structural glazing details
  • Framed systems details
  • blocks details

pros and cons

  • Metal stud wall constructions
  • Metal stud wall types
  • Metal stud wall details
  • Environment – Re-cycled – green
  • Hi-tech – lighting walls – information walls – heating – ventilation and coding