New York-based design agency Gala Magriñá Design designed the cover of the 71st Global Innovation Report, which is currently on its way to our clients. To celebrate that, we spoke to Gala Magriñá to find out more about the agency and what they think are the key rules to success in physical retail in 2019.
Who are Gala Magriñá Design?
We are a New York City-based commercial interior design agency that works with companies who want to bring their brands to life in a Retail, Wholesale, Showroom or Office environment, and who want to work with a no-nonsense interior design team that is able to clearly chart the best way forward. What separates our approach from other interior design agencies is our extensive knowledge of visual merchandising and experiential marketing – giving us immediate insight into how customers shop, what they connect with, and what inspires them to make a purchase, as well as the ability to create magical moments within a space. Because of this, we’re able to create unforgettable brand experiences that maximise profits and form emotional connections with our clients’ customers and employees. Our access to artists, illustrators, carpenters, architects, local artisans, cutting edge technology ensures that every space we design is unique, customised and layered with experiential moments.
What do you think makes you different from other agencies?
I think our background in Visual Merchandising and Event Design and Production allows us to approach our projects with a different point of view than a typical interior design firm. My team and I have experience working in Stores as Visual Merchandisers, which has allowed us to work closely with products and displays, see how customers interact with them and how visual presentations can directly impact sales. This in turn has created a very clear VM strategy that we are able to bring to all of our Retail Design Projects so that we’re not only designing Stores but also getting into the details of Visual Merchandising, product and customer flow and really understanding what works in a store and what doesn’t. Additionally, our Event Design background (prior to launching GMD, I had an event design company called M Crown Productions) allows us to really leverage technology and social media moments and approach store design through the lense of experience and experiential moments which is what creating a successful event is all about. Event production and particularly producing live events is intense and demanding and has made us extremely OCD with the details and budget of each project, which we have found makes managing our interior design projects, no matter what the size, very easy.
What work are you most proud of and why?
I would say the Retail and Office Design work we are getting into now. In the past two years I received my certification in Feng Shui and Holistic Interior Design which has completely changed the way how we approach a project and engage with our clients. Not only are we interested in creating the coolest, most functional spaces for our clients but we are also integrating mindfulness into our process, as well as introducing holistic practices into the project wherever possible and appropriate. I always tell our clients that we have two goals when working with them – one, that we design and deliver the best possible space for them and two (and equally important), that the process is as smooth as the outcome. Not to get too “woo woo” here but if there’s good vibes happening during the project, then that energy will get infused into whatever space we are working on and the final product will be that much better!
Can you tell us a bit about how you approached the brief for the cover of GIR 71 and talk us through your idea?
As the brief contained new themes and ideas about how brands are innovating (touching on acquisition, leveraging product formulation, brands being discontinuous, sustainability, wellness) we had to come up with an all-encompassing design that represented many facets of retail. On almost every single retail and showroom design project that we work on, we end up designing our own artwork and wallpaper for the project (sometimes it’s easier to create what’s in your head than go out and find it. Right?). Continuous themes in our work are geometric patterns, pop colors and illustrations, so we came up with the perfect mix of all three for the cover artwork to tell a vibrant, fun story about what you can find inside.
Finally, physical retail is going through a very challenging and transformational period. What do you think are the key rules for success?
So many things! Here are my top ten MUSTS:
- Great windows and exterior signage that draw you into a well-designed and thought out store (I call this a store with intention!)
- Incredible product presented perfectly through strategic visual merchandising that is constantly being maintained and updated.
- Technology that works and enhances or facilitates the customer’s shopping experience.
- A great staff that is easy to talk too, is well trained in authentic customer service and that you would want to hang out with outside of the store. (I call this aspirational sales people.)
- Creating a visceral shopping experience through the use of music and scent.
- Creating community/tribe vibe with customers through in-store events, monthly gatherings, etc.
- Attention to details in everything you do is what creates an outstanding customer experience and keeps people coming back to your store.
- Ensuring that your online brand appearance is cohesive with how you appear on social media and at the brick and mortar level.
- Location, location, location! And choosing a space that has great energy before you even begin with design and construction.
- Being authentic every step of the way and in everything you do.