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Title: Retail Design: Lighting as a Design Tool for the Retail Environment
Authors: QUARTIER, Katelijn 
Advisors: VAN CLEEMPOEL, Koenraad
Christiaans, Henri
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: There are three main parts in this thesis: Retailing, Retailology, and Experimental Research. The first part tackles the complexity of retail design and tries to understand why shops are what they are. Now and in the past, some of the most innovative developments and interiors can be seen in the retail sector. Therefore a closer look at the history and development of shops and shopping is made, with a focus on two aspects: the retail architecture (i.e. the building and interior design) and the managerial aspects. Three types of stores are described: the department store; the chain store and its derivative the boutique chain store; and the supermarket. A graphical timeline is designed to visualise the trends and innovations, and the influences of all three types on each other and other retail environments. Next, a clear set of definitions of related terms to the retail design discipline is provided, together with an explanation of the added value retail design can provide. Retail design is a multidisciplinary field of study, which includes scientific research. However, interior design in general and retail design in particular only recently started to develop a proper body of knowledge. The second part of this thesis focuses on this emerging development. Two important challenges are explained: first, communication to the field of designers (from all related design disciplines) and other stakeholders involved. The second challenge is of a more methodological nature: how to find a harmonious reference framework that combines three different research disciplines that study spatial features – design, environmental psychology, marketing and communication. Therefore, a theoretical framework is introduced as the basis for our research set-up for experiments discussed in the last part. Important for discussion here is the designer’s perspective to be considered when conducting experimental research. Next, within this framework, lighting is outlined as a case study and its empirical possibilities are explored by focusing on atmospherics. A brief historical contextualisation of lighting retail spaces is sketched, followed by a list of lighting related terms and concepts. The justification for such research is provided by interviews with experts and a literature review concerning lighting spaces. The final and third part of this thesis focuses on describing the experiments conducted regarding lighting food. Five experiments are set up that deal with questions on the impact of lighting on the appearance of products, product preference and sales – from the product point of view -, and the way lighting influences the perception of atmosphere, and customers’ affect – from the spatial point of view. A gradual shift from a photograph of products over a controlled lab-supermarket towards a real supermarket is made. It is argued that there is a correlation between affect and perceived atmosphere, and the resulting behaviours. To conclude, the results of the experiments are set back to the context of this thesis. Due to the contrast and duality of the results only an attempt to come to guiding principles could be made. Finally, the limitations and implications are discussed.
Keywords: retail design; lighting; atmosphere; consumer's response
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Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections:PhD theses
Research publications

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