Our competition winning proposal took the position that demand for smaller physical retail spaces will increase and that these spaces will primarily be used as a forum for brand engagement and other value added activities. Brand engagement will form an ongoing part of consumers’ life with apps that enrich their use of products (e.g. fitness apps that also offer dietary information and access to group events).
The retail environment will support these demands by including a broader range of secondary activities and events spaces as well as incorporating augmented reality technologies to tailor the retail experience to consumers’ lifestyle preferences. An increased focus on the retail destination as a place of activity and leisure will result in a more compelling landscaped environment around the retail areas.
We took cues from the integration of architecture and landscape of the formal Chinese garden which is based on groups of pavilions and courtyards within and enclosing naturalistic landscaping. To create a similar type of environment within a retail environment we proposed consolidating back of house infrastructure and operating the site in a similar manner to an online distribution hub with the retail units holding a limited stock supply.
The increased attention to landscaping and environmental design leads to locating vehicle parking at the edge of the site, with a reduced provision for individual cars and more facilities for autonomous vehicles operated as a taxi or bus service. We envisage
a process whereby autonomous vehicles can be automatically loaded with purchases from the storage facility allowing customers greater freedom to enjoy activities for longer.