Redesign of aquarium store creates flexibility,
brand alignment, and better traffic flow
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM STORE | Monterey, CA, US | completed October 2018
size 3000 sf | photos Andi Hedrick | retailer Service Systems Associates
Contributing Shop! member: Grand + Benedicts fixtures
With a fresh, modern look implemented over eight weeks without closing the store, this gift shop accommodates changing retail demand. The needs of the space, initially a bookstore, had outgrown the design. Now the revamped space can be easily remerchandised or changed to meet seasonal or evolving needs. Merchandising-friendly wall bays encourage fresh looks and displays. Products, departments, and display pieces can be moved from one area to another.
The redesigned store reflects the aquarium in which it’s housed. Mimicking the aquarium’s look are fixtures of classic maple wood with black metal accents. Sand-blasted glass on wall and floor fixtures showcase artwork designed by the aquarium. A “tunnel” inspired by an underwater passage connects two sides of the store. Its illuminated visual graphics feature a leopard shark, kelp, and other fish in a scene that align with aquarium exhibits. The tunnel opens up traffic flow between previously separated areas.
Also improving traffic flow is the open-concept register station in the back of the store, opening sightlines near the entrances and preventing long singular queues. Broken into three islands, the area encourages associates to step out from behind cashwraps to engage with guests. Illuminated sections feature the aquarium’s logo, while coral-reef inspired lighting brings the ocean inside.
Grounding the multiple storytelling pieces are long continuous runs of Gray Phoenix stone covering the cashwraps and large feature display tables at store entrances. Solid maple vertical wall slats surround and define the space, providing a dramatic backdrop for gallery art pieces. These slats cover exposed concrete and draw guests’ eyes up in the high-ceilinged store.