After Red Design Group’s design of HS home in Gepps Cross in South Australia in 2009 – the first of its kind to be opened in Australia, it was gratifying to be tasked once again with the development of the interior design for a new homeware concept store for the established retailer. Business analysis had identified an opportunity in the marketplace to spin off Harris Scarfe’s home component. Running with that, we worked with the management buy-out group of Harris Scarfe to reposition their business from an in-store sales outlook.

The adage that good design is timeless rings true here. The brief essentially called for a contemporary upgrade of the original design with a younger and more dynamic audience on the radar. There was also the ambition of creating a point of difference between the existing HS home design (a sub brand of Harris Scarfe), and the new more youthful offer. Some elements were therefore repeated from the initial design, others tweaked and improved. We also brought to the table a raft of new ideas.

Located in the newly developed Springvale Homemaker Centre in Outer South East Melbourne – the bountiful box shaped space of 880m2 leaned towards industrial in feel. As part of our design philosophy we like to make sure the spotlight shines brightly on the merchandise and so we specified a simple backdrop of black painted ceilings and polished concrete underfoot. Incorporating clear sight-lines throughout the store to assist customers to find what they want and to orientate themselves was another key priority. We custom designed four transparent graphic mesh signifier elements, one for each department – four destinations under the one roof.

At Red Design Group we like to think that a retail interior can work to drive sales for the retailer but at the same time provide a visually enticing and comfortable experience for the shopper. That underscored our decision to design a walkway that wove in and out and lead customers to each department as a deviation from the expected straight aisle. Again hovering above in this store design are several 4-metre long orange pendant lights that likewise assist in guiding people through the space from the front entry through to the back while creating more intimate surrounds. A reworking of the graphic element and splashes of three to four vibrant colours play out our design philosophy of drawing on a few big and bold yet simple gestures.

With the intent of amplifying the idea of creating a destination experience and to ramp up the focus on merchandise sales – the work of the visual merchandise team has commanded greater attention in this project. The sculptural tree elements for example, effectively zero in on particular visual merchandise hot spots.

So has the design for the new HS home delivered? We’ve been thrilled to learn that landlords are now seeking out Harris Scarfe’s HS home stores as tenants, in some cases designing developments around their needs. It demonstrates how considered design and clear branding can work hand in glove with a savvy business offer to achieve more stores on the ground.