One of my favorite projects from Interior Design school was probably the retail project at the very end of the program. We studied residential design for the first year, and tackled commercial design in the second year. When I was 15 my very first job was in a flower shop and I adored it. When I first started, I didn’t think of it any more than a job to make money and save for my future little green VW Buggy – but the longer I worked there and the more I learned about floral design, I saw myself becoming a florist professionally more and more! Now that I’m in Interior Design, I though it’d be ultra cool to design my own future flower shop! I have always loved the word “Alchemy” I don’t really know why… I like the shape my mouth makes when I say it and I enjoy hearing that word… it’s weird.
“A form of Renaissance chemistry concerned primarily on discovering a universal solvent and Elixir of Life. Or a magical process of transforming common forms into things of great value.”
My inspiration for my future flower shop was old English castles, waterfalls and redwood tree forests. I loved how these three things seemed to create the settling for a fairy tale! Essentially, I wanted Alchemy Florists to be a flower shop inspired by Mother Nature; bringing elements from the garden like fresh plants and running water, rough woods and a bright sky into the store. My goal would be to create a way to make floral arrangements a part of everyday life as well as make special events unique and brilliant. With the design of the flower shop, I wanted to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor; allowing people to enjoy flowers and plants all year round! This is totally real dream of mine – I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve it, but who knows where life may take me.
Our assignment was to design a mall location store. The rest was only limited by our imagination. I was ecstatic! As my profs went through the requirements, guidelines and design rules I was already sketching my ideas down hoping to put them on paper before they got away! As soon as class ended, I felt like I was a racehorse bursting out of the gate – God was giving me so much inspiration! I thought this would be a fun project, also because I worked in a couple flower shops for several years. I knew things that worked, I remembered things that definitely did not work and there were design ideas I thought would’ve made work more efficient or practical – I was looking forward to developing, eliminating and creating a potential flower shop for myself in the future.
Getting a floor plan down was the first step and envisioning what shoppers might see on the exterior.
It was all coming together! I wanted the logo to be simple and organic.
As part of the project we had to compile a complete specification sheet for our store including all of the materials and finishes, budget, floor Auto-CAD (ACAD) plans, electrical ACAD plans, + structural ACAD plans. There was a lot of work, but this was fun for me because I was a job that I related to and would want to work in myself! Below would be the exterior of the mall shop – it would be located on the corner which would allow shoppers to access from the side as well as the front. Along the hallway, there would be a window for convenient window shopping of fresh flowers and arrangements in the cooler.
The ceiling of the flower shop, consists of LED light panels with a sky image. These lights would cast a soft glow through out the entire store to make it feel as it the shop was actually located outdoors. The suspended ceiling would have a pergola grid to hide the metal grid support system, which would enhance the indoor-outdoor experience.
In the center of Alchemy Florists would be a fresh plant wall. The pillar would support plant life in the store without maintenance. The pillar offers privacy to the consultation and work areas in the back from shoppers passing by.
The view of the front desk for floral wrapping, A water feature continues the indoor-outdoor experience and allows shoppers to hear the sound of running water as they walk past Alchemy Florists.
A walk-in cooler allows shoppers to go in and pick the arrangement they want. Each floral design would sit on a stone Lazy-Susan which would allow them to view 360 degrees of the arrangement without needing to handle it. There would also be plants, gifts, and vases for shoppers to add to their order.
Standing behind the front desk looking out into the flower shop.
The consultation space for clients to meet one on one with the floral designers for custom work.
The work center in the back. A large island with space to walk all the way around and full of storage areas underneath.
The front shelf doubles as a storage shelf in the back to hold standard vases and designing materials. A large sink provides easy clean up and watering.
The extra deep counters around the island provide practical work space for designers’ fresh flowers, cutting knives, floral waste, and finished design work.
I really enjoyed this project! It took 100+ hours of design research, concept building, product searching, 3D computer modeling, Auto CAD drawings and photo shop to put the dream together but it was well worth it in the end! Maybe one day it will become real life!