CASE STUDY: Am. Museum Of Natural History
To create a “shop of the world” that reflects the character of the American Museum of Natural History and immerses visitors into an experiential space, where integrative elements give the store a natural feel. To maximize circulation throughout the narrow, lofty space, dramatic focal feature elements are integrated throughout the store and serve as merchandising areas.
The new store offers an adventurous shopping experience for visitors, who can now “explore” for merchandise, in the same way they explore through the Museum’s halls. Merchandise is categorized by Museum theme, rather than the traditional retail classification. Rearranging the physical space into two-and-a-half levels with a series of unique “flying stairways” creates a canyon-like feel to the Museum’s retail store. By tipping and canting the faceted wall displays, breaking the merchandise areas with unique focal features including a three-story rock wall and integrating the stairways into the design, visitors are drawn through an environment appearing to be a cavernous formation of nature; experiential, but never thematic.
- The store’s staircase is enhanced by a dramatic bronze railing cast from a stegosaur’s backbone and six fossil casts of pterosaurs soaring overhead, heightening the sense of adventure and travel experienced by visitors.
- An eclectic mix of custom fixture modules, all finished in teakwood and bronze and non-retail in their appearance, are inspired by cultural artifacts as diverse as Korean step shelves or geological ledge formations.
- Different sizes of vitrines, nesting tables and small gondolas; millwork cases inspired by the Museum’s scientific display and archival cabinets, and floor fixturing with under-shelf illuminated glass shelving offer a captivating blend of merchandising display possibilities like the organic free-flowing jewelry loop that “snakes” though the center of the second level.
- The cavernous walls are painted in neutral shades offering a crisp, contemporary feel to the store, while the “Limestone-look” ceramic floor tile enhances the stairway and store levels.
- In the children’s area, ceiling coffers incorporate low voltage custom hummingbird light fixtures that seem to swirl down toward the merchandise with a custom fixture uniquely displaying black light glowing stars and dinosaur merchandise.