MRA Architects has created interiors concepts and branding for menswear company Heavy Construction’s first retail venture, which launches in Brent Cross in London this week.
Heavy Construction has been operating as a wholesale operation since 1994, with a small number of concessions targeting the ‘middle market’ and competing with companies such as FCUK and Ben Sherman.
With wholesale margins shrinking in a price-driven market, the company has decided to branch into the ‘higher value’ retail arena, according to Heavy Construction business development manager Kapil Tyagi.
‘We identified that customers were price driven and decided the best way to combat that was by developing a retail brand,’ he says. ‘Also, as a wholesaler and working with concessions you don’t have the freedom to display and control your whole range.’
MRA was briefed to deliver a concept that would appeal to a broad age range and represent a fashion offer encompassing casual to evening wear, says MRA director Anshu Srivastava.
‘Men shop differently to women and are less familiar with store layouts than women are,’ says Srivastava. ‘We’ve created a brightly lit environment with a back-lit red wall and low furniture in the middle of the shop to reduce visual confusion.’
The concept makes use of slate, rubber and other ‘elemental materials’ to allude to the Heavy Construction name, he adds.
The store will need to function as a ‘viable retail concern’, but also act as a flagship for wholesale buyers and concessionaires, adds Tyagi. The company plans to expand to two further sites in 2003.