When considering how to achieve a striking and distinctive shopfront design you could do much worse than to consider incorporating natural materials into your scheme. As well as the obvious appeal – aesthetically they look fantastic – they are also a great option to add structural integrity to your design and stand the test of time both visually and architecturally. Many businesses and retailers have recognised this, and a closer look at the properties on a bustling high street would confirm that the trend for incorporating natural materials into innovative yet functional design is growing year on year.
Timber and wood
Many retailers have embraced natural materials in their shopfront and store interior design, opting for an ‘industrial’ look featuring steel and raw timber, or a clean and simplistic look with painted wood and precise lines. Wood and timber are especially versatile, as they add a strong sense of style and quality to a variety of business including fashion stores, restaurants and hairdressers, which is why they feature so heavily on the high street.
Metal and stone
Natural metals have also enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, especially within interior design for the home and office. Brushed stainless steel is a thing of beauty in a kitchen environment, and brushed copper is a popular choice for lighting features in both retail stores, stylish offices and the home. Natural stone materials are increasingly popular too, with many designers choosing to create a feature by leaving stone walls exposed, allowing visitors to appreciate not only the craftsmanship of the structure but also the simple rustic beauty of the stone itself.
Incorporating natural materials – practical yet beautiful
When considering how to incorporate natural materials into a design it is important to answer the following – how strong does the material need to be – does it serve a structural purpose? Does it need to be hard-wearing? You should also consider how the material will fit into the overall design – natural materials can complement modern, simplistic design very well, but too much of one can result in a messy, ‘overdone’ feel.
Consider the following examples – a luxury bathroom retailer and a stylish Icelandic-themed bar. A luxury bathroom should be an indulgent space, and the retailer needs to reflect this to compel those entering the shop or viewing from the outside to buy into the lifestyle offered. Clean lines, a free-standing hammered copper bathtub, polished sparkling granite floor, a towering glass shower cubicle. A room like this, where each type of material is used carefully in harmony with the others that feature creates an authentic feeling of quality and luxury – and draws clients in encouraging them to make a buying decision. A hip Icelandic bar, on the other hand, will draw inspiration from nature in a more obvious way. Here you would expect to find a strong Nordic design stamp – think beautiful timber and wood, modern copper and steel light fixtures, a feature wall made from logs, exposing the beautiful rings and knots in the wood, industrial-style steel finishes to the doors with matching kick plates around the base of the bar. A space like this, where the natural materials are raw and unadulterated, yet styled and employed carefully, oozes the laid-back and ‘cool’ style Scandinavians are known for – all on a UK high street.