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Bold block colours draw attention to hand-made design and sustainable products in Taupo store

15 Jun 2022

A conundrum many designers face with retail fitouts is how to make the store interior stand out from other stores while also not letting the design compete with the products for sale. Balancing the use of bold Resene colours with allowing their stock to shine, was one of the biggest challenges for FAB Design when it came to the fitout of new store for Taupo’s Spacecraft design boutique.

Having outgrown their original store in nearby Suncourt Plaza, Spacecraft owners Sue Shaw and Jo Allen snapped up the opportunity to move into their current site at 47 Te Heuheu St, in the heart of Taupo’s retail centre and on the high-profile corner with Ruapehu St – even though the country was in the midst of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

The site became available in July 2020, and though there was a lot of uncertainty at the time about what the future held, the Spacecraft partners decided to take the plunge, says Sue. “It was one of those sites that hadn’t become available in something like 35 years. It seemed like a once-in-a-life-time opportunity so we jumped.”

When it came to the design and fit-out of the space, which at 80sqm is almost half the size again of their 50sqm former site, Sue and Jo knew they wanted to steer away from the tendency of design stores to stick to a monochrome or neutral backdrop.

“Our vision was to use colour and space to create a fun, welcoming, happy environment.”

Sue and Jo worked with Leonie Novorol from FAB Design on initial concepts for the store that would use colours to create zones that take customers on a journey through the store, from plants and pots, through homewares, eco-products, baby wares and toys, and fashion. It had to be bold and eye-catching but not overwhelming.

“One of the main aims of the brief was to create a sense of discovery and make customers feel comfortable to explore and linger and these moments of colour add to that experience,” says Leonie.

At the same time they were working with local agency, Legend on refreshing their brand. Teal played a bit part in the branding but the Spacecraft team realised they needed more warmth to appeal to customers. That is when they turned to Resene, opting for a bold arch in Resene Sunglo on the main feature wall and Resene Verdun Green and Resene Dust Storm to anchor the fashion zone.

“We chose to have a mainly neutral backdrop of Resene White walls and ply shelving to let the products standout but then used pops of colour, such as arch-shaped colour blocks, in key places to showcase particular areas of the store and provide focal points to draw the eye into the space,” says Leonie.

“The colour of the main arch needed to work with the LED lighting and to enhance the products featured on it. It adds a warm glow and looks great with a wide range of products,” adds Sue.

There are notes of sunny Resene Hot Toddy and teal Resene Retro with softer zones in pale blue Resene Half Escape and soft pink Resene Dust Storm. The interior walls of the store are in Resene White, which makes the perfect backdrop, receding just enough from the accent colours to make them all the more eye-catching for customers.

Choosing the palette was a carefully considered process the business needed the colour scheme to serve multiple purposes.

It had to be dynamic, so it would adapt and grow with the business, and make it stand out on its high-profile corner site.

“It was key that the colours worked on different materials, such as eco ply, cardboard tubes for the plinths, mannequins and the counter. It also had to look good and work with the outdoor signage,” Sue says.

Maker Build worked with Leonie’s designs to create the built-in fixtures including the counter made from recycled cardboard tubes and display racks working within the quirky and somewhat pokey constraints of the older building.

“Our build team were able to put their own touches on the design as it progressed. We have done a few commercial fitouts previously, but the team had a lot of fun on this particular project as some of the finishes were really different, including the cardboard roll counter and the cylinder display pods. The end result was amazing,” says Kyly Haynes of Maker Build.

Sue and Jo wanted the bold colours in their story to showcase the huge variety of stock Spacecraft sells, rather than being the focus of attention themselves.

“We looked at digital prints for the archways but wanted to accentuate the product, not detract from it, in what we knew would be a full store,” Sue says, adding that’s why the team, which did most of the painting work themselves.

“We also wanted texture and a tactile feel to be part of the design, which we’ve achieved through use of wood and paint. The same vibe wouldn’t have been possible with vinyl installation on the walls or behind the counter.

“We wanted our products to be the hero and to create a sophisticated palette that was modern and fun. It was important to incorporate our branding into the store design to ensure our Spacecraft personality came through.”

Working closely with the local Resene ColorShop helped the team settle on the final colour palette.

“We were coming and going frequently as we matched colours and worked with the team to get the right products.

“Resene’s vast colour palette meant we were able to find the right paints to work across all aspects of our store,” Sue says.

Neither Sue or Jo are fans of high-gloss finishes but still needed the completed space to stand up to the constant wear and tear of a busy, full retail space. For that reason, they chose Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel on all the block colour features and fittings.

Sustainability, hand-made products and creativity are two of the core principles that influence the products Spacecraft stocks and its general approach to business, so it was important to Jo and Sue that these were reflected in the store fit-out and design.

They commissioned artist Alise Bignall to create a bespoke, eye catching artwork behind the shop counter using the full Spacecraft palette of Resene Dust Storm, Resene Verdun Green, Resene White, Resene Hot Toddy, Resene Sunglo, Resene Half Escape and Resene Retro. Alise worked closely with designer Leonie and the team to create a piece that reflected her own style, and met their design needs with a strong focus on the environment.

“We wanted all the colours used to give that fun, happy feel as our staff greet you at the time of purchase,” says Sue.

Sue and Jo also worked closely with a range of suppliers to source sustainable materials for the fitout, even resorting to building their own mannequins from recycled cardboard tubes and re-purposed scaffolding pipe.

Sourcing sustainable materials became one of the biggest challenges for the product through lockdowns and disruption. Sue’s advice to anyone wanting to find those key materials - whether you’re in a pandemic or not - is to find partners who understand the vision and who can make good alternative suggestions if your original plan isn’t going to work.

When designing a retail space Leonie at FAB Design says it’s important to have a high level of understanding of the product range. Jo and Sue were very involved in the fitout and their efforts combined with those of Leonie’s and the builders Maker Build helped this project come together.

“Designing a retail space requires a particularly high level of client input. Jo and Sue had lots of creative ideas that they wanted to incorporate into the space and I felt the way these all came together was the most successful part of the project,” says Leonie.

With the store finished, Spacecraft keeps up its commitment to using sustainable products, including Resene paints by using them in changing window displays.

The shop fitout has been a huge success with customers, who often comment on the clever use of colour and layout of the busy store. Both Jo and Sue, and their staff are thrilled with the result

“We think the colours look fantastic and create the fun, fresh vibe we wanted our store to feel.”

Architectural specifier: FAB Design
Building: Maker Build
Painting and colour choices: Spacecraft
Branding: Legend
Featured artist: Alise Bignall

images Sue Shaw

Eco ply provides the internal framework for the Spacecraft store, with the main display archway being prepped for the warm tones of Resene Sunglo. The rear arches are in Resene Dust Storm (left) and Resene Verdun Green.

Extensive colour testing was done on the walls with Resene testpots before the Spacecraft team settled on their final colour scheme. Recycled paper tubes, seen here in (clockwise from upper left) Resene Sunglo, Resene Dust Storm, Resene White, Resene Verdun Green, Resene Hot Toddy and Resene Half Escape, are used throughout the store as display plinths.

At the same time as planning the fit-out of the new, larger store Spacecraft underwent a brand refresh to ensure it stood out on its high-profile corner site. The new signage uses the same palette as the store interior in Resene Retro, Resene Sunglo, Resene Dust Storm, Resene White, Resene Verdun Green, Resene Hot Toddy and Resene Half Escape.

Customers enter the Spacecraft store through the lush greenery of its houseplant section. The rest of the store zones are divided with clever use of colour such as the main arch in Resene Sunglo.

Sue Shaw and Jo Allen opted for the lush green of Resene Verdun Green and the soft pink of Resene Dust Storm as the backdrops in the fashion zone as they worked well with a wide variety of other colours in the clothing. The store design also includes zone markers on the floor to add another layer to each space. This ‘Looking Good’ marker is in Resene Hot Toddy, Resene Dust Storm, Resene Half Escape and Resene Verdun Green. The main store walls are Resene White.

Clever use of angles and contrasting shades such as the arches in Resene Sunglo and Resene Verdun Green with black fixtures, wood textures and walls in Resene White make the 80 sqm space feel much larger.

Wood finishes, particularly in eco ply help keep sustainability and a commitment to hand-made items front and centre, while the arches in Resene Dust Storm and Resene Verdun Green contrasted against the Resene White wall add depth and extra dimension.

Recycled cardboard tubes in Resene White provide an unusual but on-theme base for the counter. Artist Alice Bignall created the bespoke artwork behind the counter in her own style, reflecting Spacecraft’s commitment to the environment and sustainability, using Resene Retro, Resene Sunglo, Resene Dust Storm, Resene White, Resene Verdun Green, Resene Hot Toddy and Resene Half Escape.

Resene Hot Toddy makes for an eye-catching display plinth. The Spacecraft team used Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel on all the shopping fittings and fixtures to stand up to wear and tear.

Cardboard tubes painted in Resene Verdun Green and Resene White pair perfectly with the bare woods and lush greens of the Spacecraft plant zone.

Spacecraft also often use Resene shades in their changing window displays such as this magical forest created with the theme of Paint the Town Green to celebrate Greening Taupo, a local community group committed to ‘greening’ the town one tree at a time. For this display they used green hues of Resene Bilbao and Resene Windfall, orange Resene Daredevil, red Resene Poppy and pink Resene Hopskotch.

Published: 15 Jun 2022