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Retail Design

“The more people have time to experience the joys of creativity, the less they will be consumers, especially of mass-produced culture […]”


― Theodore Roszak

The Ar/ba/Son Market was developed as a response to the fundamental problems that face Scotland’s High Streets in 2020; The proposal addresses the economic structure, audience interest and the collateral damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 


This project centralises itself around the growing campaign to increase the exposure and promotion of craft makers, and their almost forgotten artistries. An example, in Edinburgh, is the Royal Mile that is dominated by souvenir stores offering items that have been mass-produced and outsourced. This creates a lack of place for merchandise created by local designers, artisans and makers, which only adds to an extensively missed opportunity in supporting these designers.


The proposal was to introduce a concentrated market space for Scotland-based designers, within the Freemasons’ Grand Lodge, while also addressing the vital requirements necessary to ease the public apprehension surrounding social interaction within public spaces, for life after the Covid-19 pandemic, and to ensure the markets longterm survival. The markets name is derived from the new occupants - the Artisans; the country it represents  - Alba [Scotland] and its former occupants - the Masons.


The locality within the central city sector and the prime retail district would offer local designers the real-estate opportunity to exhibit and promote their merchandise; while also being encompassed within the interior of a site that is historically characterised by its own prestigious and traditional craft artistry. It equally takes advantage the missed opportunity for local designers to be discovered by wider audiences, offering visitors across the globe, including locals of Scotland, the access to purchase unique, quality and lasting pieces that represent the Scottish identity, and as a benefit, support local community and economy.

Want to know the thinking behind this?

The Project Scale

The scale of this project was approached from two opposing tail-end design scopes, which was the masterplanning vs. the points of interaction. The scale categorised by the critical area of strategic circulation between points of interaction within the space that would be deal with the adjustments needed for post-Covid-19 public spaces. This was done to avoid limiting this to a product/furniture scale of design, which would have forced the project to ignore how these interaction points would realistically work within the existing interiors it was designed in, and for. 

Interested in the design development of this project?

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