We see Red: the retail design awards, that is

Coffee and clothing together? Why this combo is turning design heads.

The Red Awards celebrating excellence in retail design are fast approaching. We speak to one of the entrants about what they think sets them apart from the rest, and explore the new theme that’s emerging with retail spaces - combining elements like coffee and clothes within one shop.

The Red Awards are run annually by the Retail Interior Association.

They recognise the hard work of designers, shopfitters and suppliers in the retail industry.

Retail Interior Association executive officer Rebekah Heal says the Red Awards have had a record number of entries this year – 56, to be exact.

There are nine divisions stores can win, including food and drink, and fashion and health.

One of the entrants in the fashion and health apparel division, The Shelter in Ponsonby, has already scooped another coveted design award this year.

The store won best retail section at the 2015 Interior Awards.

The Shelter was formerly a laundromat, which was then transformed into a concept store by Vicki Taylor and Mark Thomson in 2014.

The shop combines clothing, homeware, a bike store and most recently, a café called Eat within its premises.

The fit out was done by Pennant and Triumph. 

Pennant and Triumph director Justin Roderique says The Shelter stands out from other shops because it’s a true destination retail store.

“The whole concept and even the name reflects it – The Shelter – as it’s derived from providing one destination, so a customer is able to come into the store and have that full range of products,” Roderique says.

The stand-out design aspect of the space is its existing foundations they built off, he says.

“I think we’re very lucky with the existing space being a big old warehouse, so the ceiling height, the block walls and even the concrete floor, it all helps.

“It had really good bones before we even started.”

He says his favourite part of the store personally is the café called Eat, which opened this week.

“It contributes to that whole destination idea, as you go have a coffee or have breakfast and have a look at homeware or shoes,” he says.

There seems to be a growing trend for retail spaces to marry together store aspects that have been traditionally separated, as Barkers High St is another contender in the Red Awards.

The 430 square metre space combines a Burrs & Grind espresso bar at the entrance, the Barkers menswear shop and a Groom Room barbershop on the mezzanine level.

Barkers general manager Glenn Cracknell told NZ Retail magazine earlier this year it’s this new experience of coffee, clothes and grooming that draws people into the store.

“You come in and there are different touch points,” Cracknell said.

“It’s not just your standard [trip] - come in, look at the clothing, walk out. You have to discover the different parts of the store and you have something a bit richer than a normal shopping experience.”

AND (Adrian Nancekivell Design) was responsible for the fit out.

This year’s Red Awards will be judged by Hugh Mullane, the founding and second term president of the Designers Institute of New Zealand and director of interiors at Ignite Architects Limited; Elaine Joyce, global store development manager for Pumpkin Patch; and Gabrielle Bevin-Smith, who heads up the retail design team for Westfield centres’ parent company, Scentre Group.

They’ll be held at 6pm on Saturday 5 September at Mantells on the Water in Auckland.

You can grab tickets to the event by emailing info@nzria.co.nz.

This story first appeared on our sister site The Register.