Last month Conran Design Group made the headlines with a major commission from Shell International (DW 24 April). Brought in to help with the oil giant’s repositioning, the consultancy’s job is to address the thorny problem of successfully integrating retail with petrol-selling.
Like many of its rivals, Shell has declared war on supermarkets trying to muscle in on the petrol market by selling petrol at discount prices. One way is to set up local convenience stores at its own petrol station sites.
Given that the Shell job was in the offing, it wasn’t surprising that CDG set a student brief to redesign a garage forecourt to bring more retailing in. Schemes entered in the 1998 CDG/Amtico Retail Design Awards had to appeal to the entire local community, not just motorists.
The brief set by CDG asked second-year interiors students to look at how an existing garage forecourt could be adapted to provide additional retailing for motorists and pedestrians alike.
Students were given plans and elevations of a typical site and had to address issues such as accommodating cars while making the environment safe and comfortable for pedestrians, especially women and children. They also had to marry the concept of a local community shop with the image of a major petrol brand.
The winner, Val Glugston from Glasgow School of Art, focused her “infotainment depot” concept on the customer of tomorrow, prefacing her presentation with a photograph of a hip baby precociously sporting shades.
Housed in a glass-clad, steel-roofed “mother depot” with a tough architectural identity, Glugston’s “retail” offer includes shops, business facilities and a communications centre incorporating banking and Internet terminals. The mother depot is linked by a polycarbonate sheet canopy to petrol pumps, while ancillary pods contain other facilities for motorists, such as car-cleaning services.
To create a sense of locality, Glugston – the fourth successive Glasgow student to win the Amtico award – has incorporated large graphic panels, depicting regional elements such as stone, flora, fauna and buildings.
CDG creative director David Chaloner describes Glugston’s concept as “a thoughtful, systematic and energising solution to a complex brief”. He applauds her use of “stimulating structures and technology, without losing the essential touch of humanity”.
Glugston receives 1000 and a month’s paid placement at CDG for her success, and GSA’s interiors department receives a further 1500. And David Chaloner was so impressed by the overall standard of entries this year that a second student, Jo Coombs of Leeds University, has been offered a two-week paid placement at CDG.
Coombs, highly commended by the judges, devised a strong Boomerang branding for her retail offer, based on a highly effective plan. The judges were impressed by the scrupulous way she worked out the plan and the high standard of her drawings. But as she had only addressed one aspect of the brief – the retail building – felt they couldn’t award her the top prize.
Chaloner and CDG creative head Rupert Matthews were patently delighted with the outcome. What’s the betting the two happy students will end up working with them on Shell?
Associate editor, Jobs & Money, The Guardian
Creative director, CDG
Chief executive, Amtico
Creative head, CDG
Editor, Design Week