The prospect of seeing a design develop from an idea to a complete project is an exciting experience for a brand that is looking to increase its momentum. But communicating your goals for the project can still be a difficult task. Here is the basic guideline to communicate your requirements to your architect for a commercial space.
This is the key aspect of your brief. Enter into the project with a very clear number that is inclusive of all the expenses. Architects and designers are known for letting their creativity drive them which often leads to cost overruns. Let them know that this number will include everything from electrical, air conditioning, decorative items and the most overlooked item– Taxes. Tip: give them a number 10-15 per cent less than what your original budget is.
Brand and product
The architect needs to have an understanding of your brand message. Give your architect brand collateral like logos, fonts and colour palettes that shall act like a guideline for the project. The architect should be very clear on what the product is, how it needs to be displayed and what are the dimensions. There are at times differences within the same category for e.g. jewellery or clothing. The product should guide the design decisions instead of just giving a generic understanding.
Every architect has a unique way of working, hence it’s important for an architect to know and design the project as per your preferences. It would help to have some references to share – Pinterest and Instagram are great resources. If you are unsure of how you want to go about it – ask the architect to suggest different styles from which you can shortlist.
Whether you run a complex POS system which requires servers etc. or a simple setup, you should let the architect know. They will have to plan the cash counter, server room, power and data requirements around this. Surveillance and alarm system needs should also be communicated way in advance.
Some products require more security than others; the cabinetry, racks and shelving should be designed to keeping this in mind. For e.g. let the designer know if you need a big safe in the back or just a small one for cash.
How many team members will you have at the store? Where will they eat lunch? Where will they go to the bathroom? Do they need lockers to keep their personal items? Where will they change? These are all important questions to that should be discussed with your architect.
Future maintenance and changes
Some designs require more maintenance than others. For e.g. marble needs more care than tile. It’s good to let the architect know how much time, money and energy you’re willing to invest into keeping the property in a good shape. They may be done with the project as soon as construction is complete, but maintaining it is going to be your responsibility post it. Renovations are not an easy task, It’s best to go to plan for the future when building your space. Let your architect know what your needs will be in future as and when you grow your business.
The architect needs to be cognizant of the time frame required to execute the project. The architect needs to develop a design using construction techniques and materials which will allow you to get the project done in time. Most landlords provide a short rent-free period ranging from 45–90 days. You don’t want to start paying rent before your store is ready for the public. For e.g. furniture with a lead time of 60 days cannot work on a 45-day project.
It’s very important have a list of must haves and also the list of areas where you are willing to compromise and where you are not. As the design moves from concept to construction – it’s essential to be honest with your designer; If you dislike something, say it. Finally, and most importantly, trust your architect – after all, they are the experts.
(The author is city head – Bangalore, SILA)