Tribeka: “We design stores that function flawlessly”

Tribeka es un estudio que lleva más de veinticinco años imaginando y desarrollando conceptos de marca y espacios que transmitan identidad con el objetivo de emocionar y, a la vez, mejorar la experiencia de compra y venta.

Interview published in Proyecto Contract with Javier García, Jonathan Reyes, German Morales and Silvia Andreu.

Can you explain the idea behind “real retail”?

Real Retail is about designing stores that really work, which involves taking into account every single variable that makes up each project. As well as making the stores attractive, which is important, it is also important that they are easy to build, replicable, scalable and versatile, easy to set up and even easy to transport.

In the world of retail, redesigning or remodelling a brand involves factors beyond just conveying its DNA, enticing shoppers and generating sales. Our Real Retail, philosophy takes all these factors into account.

How do you design a complete brand experience in retail?

A complete brand experience is about walking into a store and leaving with a smile on your face. Going shopping has to be enjoyable, it’s that X factor that makes people choose in-store shopping over online shopping. Our experiences are influenced by the design of the space, the smells, how the products are displayed, the customer service and the surprises you find along the way. Let’s face it, a store’s main objective is to sell products, but other kinds of activities should also take place. A purchase is a transaction, but if you combine it with a smile, an explanation of the product, a pleasant smell, a tip, a game or interactive gadget, customers end up engaging with your brand. As a result, the next time they shop, they’ll seek you out. But if any of these factors fail to impress them, they’re likely to go somewhere else. This is true for stores, restaurants, bakeries… everywhere. There are plenty of opportunities that must not be wasted.

Is it difficult to make an impact in a world of retail that is so image-heavy?

In general, brands are doing exceptionally well. They are working hard to curate their physical spaces, and there are always more options to explore, but it’s all about creating stores that suit their intended audience. Some spaces are more cluttered, while others, with a much more minimal design, send a clear message.

Designs must be adapted to the type of customer they are aimed at. A 17-year-old skater may seek more visual and auditory stimulation, whereas a 65-year-old woman may not. It’s about giving each client what they like in order to make them smile.

What are the advantages of working with an comprehensive management service?

The most important thing is that we guarantee the overall result, both aesthetics and functionality. Designing the furniture, but not having a say in the type of paint or the density of load-bearing beams, jeopardises the success of the project. For us, this is crucial. As previously mentioned, in order for our stores to thrive and uphold our cherished “real retail” philosophy, it is crucial that these spaces are constructed properly from the very beginning, using high-quality materials, with the utmost care and attention to detail, and within the designated timeframe.

How does a project evolve over time?

We believe there are two very important parts to consider in the evolution of a project. On the one hand, there’s the “what”, the image, the design and what the current interior trends are. Usually, as a brand’s product evolves, their space needs to be updated every five or six years. On the other hand, there’s the “how”. In order to achieve a cost-effective remodelling in the future, it is crucial to reinforce the walls and ceilings, rearrange the furniture, opt for neutral structures and install long-lasting flooring during the design phase.

Why did you specialise in retail spaces?

Well, that’s easy. It’s what I’m passionate about, it’s what I’ve always done and it’s where I can contribute the most. I love helping clients improve their spaces.

Do you believe in the narrative of an interior design project?

Without a doubt, stores must tell a story. Each element that makes up a design must be there for a reason, everything must be in harmony and create an emotional response in the shopper. Stores need to have soul..

What are your sources of inspiration?

Trips. We travel a lot to spot trends. Last year we went to New York, London and Paris. That’s where we get our best ideas. We also use the internet, but it’s not the same. Normally at the start of an project, we travel. It’s a wonderful perk, isn’t it? We’re very lucky.

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