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Selective design – Targeting business premises and spaces (Part 1)

The basic attitude in business has always been that an office, retail space, or any space where you are receiving customers should make everyone feel good when they enter. Then one by one, the most high-end business sectors started to break with this tradition. Financial institutions, the fashion world, car showrooms, and so on: all are examples of places where, in some cases, the ordinary person feels distinctly uncomfortable when they enter. Or they would feel that way, but they avoid such places. It is a decades-old trend that will experience a major renaissance in 2022’s reinvigorated market. Where it’s all about making the target customer feel good about shopping, even if it has a distinctly negative impact on other, non-targeted people. And this expectation will require selective interior design and execution based on a predetermined strategy.

The real premium

Selectivity is generally not a positive concept, as it is not only about acceptance but also about exclusion. It is therefore inappropriate to talk in this way about techniques that are designed to select for us, nicely and quietly. In business, this process is essential for the development and maintenance of a premium sector. It is no coincidence, therefore, that this is where most of the solutions for so-called intelligent selection can be found. Their impact will be even stronger in the future as the gap between rich and poor is pushed in this direction by deeper economic crises. The retail sector must be prepared for this. One of the most important selection solutions in this area is the design of the space where the potential customer enters. Whether it is a specific point of sale, a retail space, a meeting room, or even the reception area that someone encounters when entering a building. It takes a serious strategy to meet the expectations of decision-makers. If only because, as the gap between social groups in terms of ability to pay widens, it is common for the higher-paid, higher-income groups to be reluctant to face the other side. At least not in all circumstances. Of course, they are empathetic to the issue, and most modern businesspeople do support those in need, but they choose to do so in the place and at the time of their choosing. They are reluctant to encounter the poverty factor in the midst of spending their money in their private time, as it has a negative impact on the experience. It is, therefore, the responsibility of traders and retailers offering goods and services, both explicitly and implicitly, to ensure that this selection is made. The design of the space is clearly a design task, where obviously functional requirements must also be met. But very few people on the design side, and even fewer on the construction side, understand today what the real objective and strategy of the client partner are, and how these should be translated into practical terms. There must be a clear sense of “we only offer our products to well-off people”. Not in an offensive or aggressive way, but in a subtle and intelligent way. “The commissions we receive have always set high quality standards for design and construction. But that doesn’t always mean that the target audience has to be clearly defined in the context. In most cases, the client side cannot clearly articulate this requirement either, so over the years, we have developed professional techniques based on our own experience which subtly, but clearly, define the need to have the right income to enter a given business environment. Few people consciously deal with this special field, and often a design is misused because of this, which has a negative impact on sales figures”, explains ENDORIENCE frontman Gergő Nidermayer.