The Natural History Museum opens its M-worldwide-designed store this week, in a project believed to be worth more than £100 000 in fees to the group.
The project sees the museum’s existing series of smaller shops consolidated into one 557m2 flagship and comes as the museum seeks to significantly increase income from its retail offering.
‘The commercial reality is that retail needs to be taken very seriously [by museums] today,’ says M-worldwide director David Martin.
The group’s work included positioning the venue, both in terms of its physical location and the store’s target audience, interiors, graphics and lighting design.
According to Martin, the decision was taken to give the venue more adult appeal and the store has been zoned into a series of six ‘product worlds’. Large scale graphics emphasise the zones.
Working within the constraints of the listed building presented a challenge, adds Martin, and the store’s contemporary interior – featuring dark, carved timber, stainless steel, frosted glass and white fixtures – contrasts with the museum’s terracotta-clad interior.
‘The existing building, with its highly decorated interior, is an environment you can’t compete with unless you use contrast,’ explains Martin.
The retail upgrades follow a revamp of the museum’s identity by Hat Trick Design (DW 14 October).