Mecca Skate Shop

A Marriage of Industrial and Interior Design

This project was a collaboration between three industrial design students and two interior design students. We were given a floor plan and three locations to choose from and were tasked with designing a retail store.

Research

After our group had settled on the idea of making a skate shop, we investigated the different location options which were San Francisco, Memphis, and Pittsburgh. We found out that San Francisco was a very popular skate destination on the west coast in the 80’s and 90’s. It still has an active skate community to this day and is well known for its skate parks and long hills. Once we decided that we would put our skate shop in San Francisco, we did more research on skating as a whole. One of our group members, who is a skater himself, visited a local skate shop and found that it was very tightly packed with product. He knows from this experience and others that he’s had that skating can be very intimidating to newcomers and even existing skaters can be alienating to beginners. With this knowledge, we formulated our problem statement.

Problem Statement

How can we create a store and brand that makes skating more welcoming and accepting to newcomers while not alienating existing skaters?

Parti Diagram Ideation

We then each began putting down ideas for the general layout of our store in the form of parti diagrams.

Fixture Ideation

We also began sketching ideas for fixtures that could go in the skate shop.

Perspectives

From this perspective you can see the edge of the central hub which we call the Mecca. This is an area where skaters and employees can hang out and talk about the products and skating in general. You can also see the deck wall in the background. The decks are arranged to emulate the elevations of the hills in San Francisco.

This perspective shows our apparel section. On the wall behind the clothes racks is a geometric concrete and mirror pattern. This is similar to the colorful wood-wool wall pattern which can be see in the previous perspective.

The final perspective is a better view of our central hub, the Mecca. Arced seating and shelves subtly convey the central space without being overbearing. There are two ramp shaped product displays in the center. Here, customers can shop for shoes, decks, and accessories as well as talk with other skaters and employees.

Fixtures

Floor Plan and Axon

Storyboard

A potential customer is drawn to the store by seeing the rotating deck display racks.
As the customer enters the store, he is greeted by a friendly Mecca employee.
The employee shows the customer around the store, sharing knowledge about the boards and accessories and helping the customer make the best decision.
The customer selects a deck and accessories from the wide selection.
The customer purchases the products he selected.
The new customer, having bought his first skateboard, joins other skaters in the central hub to talk about skating and learn about local places to skate.

Mecca is dedicated to providing knowledgeable service to skaters of all skill levels without alienating beginner skaters. We don’t overwhelm skaters with densely packed products. We provide them with what they need in an atmosphere that is accepting and encouraging.

This project was an interesting experience as it allowed us industrial designers to see how the interior designers work. We learned about several tools that interior designers use to convey their ideas like parti diagrams and perspectives. The interior designers learned how we iterate and design fixtures through several versions. I also learned all the various aspects that go into creating a retail store. You must consider the location, the customers, the atmosphere, the employees, and much more. Everything must come together to create a cohesive shopping experience.

I think our group was pretty successful although our final deliverable isn’t perfect. I was never satisfied with the lighting conditions of the final perspectives and I think that partly has to do with the limitations of the software that the interior designers used. I gained a lot of respect for the interior designers because there is a lot of Photoshop legwork involved with taking the renderings from Sketchup and turning them into a presentable perspective. I think other software like Fusion 360 could be integrated into the process to get a more accurate representation of envisioned atmosphere of the store.

I’m glad we got to work with students from another discipline in a group environment. I learned a lot from them as well as from my fellow industrial designers. I’m interested to work with other types of designers or engineers in the future and see how I can integrate their skills into my workflow.