Creating a cycling shop fit for the future

The client 

We were asked by an independent cycle retailer selling high-end cycles on the outskirts of London, to conceptualise the layout and look and feel of its three-floor cycle shop, ahead of a planned revamp – the first in seven years.

The brief

The existing use of the space was complex in that it had a customer bike park, workshop, toilets, staff room, fitting rooms, collection point, coffee area, a lift, storage and branded merchandising walls.

The client wanted to make better use of the space, make the customer journey more intuitive, soften the interiors and future-proof the design for another few years.

What we delivered

Ground floor

One of the first things we looked to do was to make the customer journey more intuitive – to take charge of navigation and show customers the way to what they want. As a fix, we proposed adding cycle tracks – inspired by those in a velodrome – on the ground floor, to act as a visual aid to direct customers from one end of the store to the other. A secondary layer of navigation was provided by wall graphics. See images 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Hand-in-hand with this, we de-cluttered the space, by proposing removing the large TV screen, which acted as a visual barrier on entry, and removing cladding around pillars near the lifts, to really open up the space.

We included subtle nods to the shop’s cycling heritage, via the track (mentioned above), as well as through the inclusion of famous cycle tracks perforated into the plywood wall at the back of the store (see images 6 & 7).

We borrowed the concept of the open kitchen from the hospitality industry and used perforated metal for the stockroom wall, so customers could get a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes – lending a degree of honesty and transparency to the design (see image 7).

The client favoured the industrial / loft look, name-checking materials such as polished concrete. However, given that a key part of the brief was to future-proof the store, ensuring it transcends current trends, we worked hard to incorporate materials that we felt still had some life left in them, in terms of the lifecycle of their retail appeal. So, for example, we used materials such as fret-cut plywood and perforated metal. We also chose materials we felt were timeless, such as dark herringbone wooden flooring (see example material palette, image 8).

Second floor

For the second floor (see image 9), we sought a change of pace from the bright, colourful ground floor. The second floor is where customers are taken for a bespoke bike fitting and the materials needed to reflect this exclusive service. In contrast, the second floor is designed using dark, sumptuous materials with a luxury feel, inspired by private members’ clubs and gymnasiums of old. We split the space into three areas: a consultation area, a showcase area of high-end accessories, and a storage area of all of the component parts required for the fitting service.

Images 1 to 7 show visuals from the ground floor. Images 8 & 9 are a material palette, and a visual, respectively, from the second floor.

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