Retail stores are shrinking, not necessarily in size but in their attitude.  The big muscly, ‘look at me, look at me’ approach is taking a turn for the better and hallelujah I say.  Who has time for arrogant peacocks…’s so 1980s!

The trend is coined as ‘Anti-Big’ by our good friends, Echochamber over in London and it seems that Anti-Big is becoming, well……big.

So what exactly does this new trend mean?  We’re going to start seeing overall store design moving away from prescriptive lackluster rollouts.  It’s about personalising each store design to stay true to regional areas and the customer they are selling to.  Cookie Cutter roll outs will probably always have their place but it’s now more important than ever to embrace the local community in which the store is located. Echochamber used the example of Space Ninety 8, an Urban Outfitter’s creation.  It’s a big store, in fact, it spans several levels but the huge converted warehouse is home to a unique design, pop-up spaces and a focus on locally-made craft.

Adidas originals are displayed in the basement and a renowned chef has opened a gastropub on the rooftop, with views across the water to Manhattan.  A marketplace with a bevy of arts and crafts is peppered throughout and each brand has created product bespoke for the store.  The store is designed as a complete destination and a sense of real community is crafted perfectly. Last week my colleague William posted a blog on Aesop Fitzroy, Melbourne and this is the perfect example of Anti-Big.  No two stores are the same and different designers are used for each store to encapsulate an authentic experience.

The Huckleberry stores we designed are also a nod to Anti-Big.  They’re embracing the food corner store concept and although each store has used the same design elements, they are manipulated in a way to give each location a uniqueness and individuality.

We love this new trend. It is, of course, a conundrum when it comes to budget but that’s when a clever designer comes in handy!


Melanie Spencer
General Manager