Chicago Retail Project | Rae Duncan Interior Design

BEDAZZLED: Chicago Retail Interior Design Project

December 16, 2020


You know the biggest problem with commercial projects? BUDGET! The best part of commercial projects is that clients are largely business people that are not emotionally attached to one aesthetic or another. They just want something rad and I usually have the leeway to do my special thing. I can adapt to any budget, it’s my specialty. Fabulous can look fabulous without costing fabulous in every design situation. Get into it, be clever, be super thrifty, get dirty. That’s commercial to me. Do everything you can to make spectacular out of almost nothing. That is exactly what we did for the downtown Chicago-based Nail & Spa salon, Bedazzled, when they approach RDID to create a luxury, branded retail environment.

Interior Design and Branded Environments

I am a huge fan of branded environments, I like graphic design, everything. Like I’ve said before, if you are a good designer apply it to every design problem. I want to incorporate a sophisticated concept and style throughout the space. I want every franchise to be identifiable and different from what every client or customer sees day to day.

Branded environments and parametric design (a topic for another day) were by far my favorite classes in grad school. Manifest Next. That was my grad school motto. Like what is the future of design, how far can I push it with my clients? I fell in love with branded environments, and dive deep every chance I get. I love commercial design and it’s so much fun. Okay- my portfolio project below is also triangles-but I swear- just a coincidence!!

What is a Branded Environment?

You might be wondering, what is a branded environment? How can you incorporate a mission, a philosophy, and an aesthetic into an impactful statement space? How can your space speak to your consumer or client in a focused and intentional way- How do we transform a brand and strategy into physical space? How can this carry through all the physical spaces of your company including offices, think tanks- everything. What is the through line, and how is it relevant to your customer experience and your company’s mission?

Developing Branded Space Interior Design Ideas

Bedazzled is nail salon we did in downtown Chicago on an insanely tight budget. The owner named it Bedazzled and I was charged to come up with the interior and all graphic and branded materials. Bedazzled, like diamonds, a concept the owner wanted us to use.

Sometimes branding can be straight forward on a tight budget, nail polish dripping down the wall behind reception….Always highlighting product in beautiful and fun ways. Product is so, so important. And it’s great to use product instead of the words polish or nails. Its clean. Find something about the brand or name that can be as simple as a shape.. bedazzled, like diamonds right? Triangles… that’s what I settled on. Simple and stunning always. A triangle is a totally awesome shape. I’m for both round and linear shapes- slightly partial to linear…triangles and angles of all kinds are amazing visually. Lighting up products and using lighting elements in different ways is important both in residential and commercial environments. Most commercial spaces I do involve a lot of lighting and modern features. A simple inexpensive way to highlight product.

Carry it through everything. From the herringbone faux wood tile to the inexpensive Schluter triangles on the walls. Carry it all through everything. The graphic I made was a modern diamond sketch, and we took the angles from that and applied it to many different elements in our physical design: lighting, furniture, graphics, flooring, reception, and the stitching in each chair. We also wanted the space to be girly and glam. We chose pink and navy and gold and rose gold to incorporate through the space and in the branded materials.

We were thrilled with the finished product. It looked clean and trendy and super stylish. It was functional and provided the owner with the maximum number of customers and highlighted product in beautiful ways. And the best part, as always, a super happy client.