Shopping can be therapeutic. Exclaim Design’s newest project took that statement literally.
With a small budget and tight window of work time principal designer Jeffrey Rausch and director of design Haley Balzano, of Phoenix-based Exclaim Design, along with their team, dedicated themselves to deliver a design with chic, urban appeal. “The client wanted a hip attitude with an urban edge,” said Rausch. Clean simple lines and soothing white walls are balanced with warm chocolate-colored wood flooring for contrast. These basic elements set the mood upon entering through the front door, and are further enhanced by the repeated elements such as the unique suspended lighting, rhythmic tables and visual, textured wall displays. “The white backdrop, hip light fixtures, edgy videos, funky displays, contemporary seating group, new-style curtained changing rooms and hip mannequins served to solve this challenge,” said Rausch. The result was a place where urban loft meets chic spa.
Challenged with a very narrow space at Therapy’s 1200-square-foot retail women’s clothing store, designers capitalized on this perceived weakness by incorporating resourcefully placed tables, pendant lights, lounge-like seating along the walls and a mirror opposite the front door that elongates the space. Creating continuity and setting a fluid tone for the room, guests will immediately notice the low back-lit Plexiglas display box that runs the length of the store just above the floorboards, beginning outside of the front window. Sale items are artfully displayed here, complementing the hanging items above. Sprouting out of this structure are strategically-placed divider columns on the wall that create a closet-like feel for the clothing displays in between.
Using the store’s name as inspiration, soft lighting provides a relaxing calm throughout the store’s open layout while order is instilled by repeated accent patterns and a recurrence of furniture placement. Sleek lines and mirrored water features with river rocks at the base invoke an inviting contrast to the surrounding white for another repeated element. Soft spotlighting on the hanging clothing adds the illusion of depth on the inset display areas. Texture comes into play further into the store with the addition of feathered drop lighting, along with the faux fur accent pillows and grooved wall panels. The design draws the eye forward throughout the space, using its unique length to the design’s distinct advantage.
Having already been aware of Exclaim Design’s contemporary style, Therapy boutique’s owner Katy Baker was drawn to the firm to create the perfect environment for her clothing store. “We wanted to create a soothing atmosphere where people can shop comfortably,” said Baker. They were able to achieve just that and more. “The sound of the water is soothing and the store smells great,” she says. “It is a destination – a place where I feel comfortable and energized.” Baker’s clients love the feeling they get when they walk in and many of them describe the experience as calm, yet edgy. “I have a lot of people tell me that it reminds them of stores in Europe,” she says. “They also say it is a breath of fresh air to see something different.”