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Saatchi Gallery, London

For centuries art has been controversial, especially in the later part of the last century when conceptual art elevated the every day and common place to art status. The Saatchi Gallery in London, renowned for its thought provoking work has become an innovative forum for contemporary work by largely unknown artists – the careers of Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin were both launched here.

SDEA has always been keen to promote the more niche areas of retail. Gallery and museum shops are a particular favourite as they are often executed to perfection. Much like the gallery itself, the shops are kept streamlined and minimal to allow the product to shine. Often white, these spaces elevate the merchandise to a higher plain - a trend that was mimicked over and over, and became the height of fashion within mainstream retail for many years.

As you’ve probably already guessed our next retail review is the new shop at the Saatchi gallery. It would be a crime to let such an iconic art gallery slip past unnoticed, so naturally when we received news of a new store fit-out, we had to cover it.

It does not disappoint. The new store is simple, yet stylish. Sleek, chic and subtle in its design. Like the gallery itself, the shop appears calm and orderly and displays a wonderful array of merchandise. Measuring just 216 square metres, it is light, airy and feels extremely spacious. It provides a blank canvas from which the product takes centre stage.

Essentially it is a modular design to allow for continual change of product. A white, flexible shelving system blends into the backdrop of the gallery with moveable category headers that navigate the consumer to their desired product choice. A monotone colour scheme helps divide the store into two separate areas with a cash desk and large, wall mounted logo panel located at either end to reinforce the division. The Saatchi Gallery logo is the only diversion from the product on sale in this serene ambience.

The main retail area is predominantly white. The perimeter walls feature powder coated, white, steel uprights, which support white laminate shelving in a variety of shapes and sizes, to offer maximum flexibility for the vast product range; rows of narrow shelving display postcards, regular sized shelves display books and folded clothing, whilst large individual shelves showcase A1 framed pictures and mannequin busts. Positioned across the sales area are a number of large white, laminate freestanding display units with oak effect plinths, that display product stacked on the top and on the side shelving below.

At the premium end the fixtures and fittings, though still modular, are extremely elegant and mostly dark grey or black. Here, stainless steel uprights support glass shelving and the entire wall is back lit with LEDs to illuminate the top end product on display and allows branding to be added. A plush, dark grey carpet adds a luxurious touch with a sofa for reclining and black freestanding display units for further merchandise.

All in all design agency, Design4Retail has created a lovely space to linger and browse the gallery’s unique collection of high quality gifts that are intended to inform, educate and entertain.

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