Getting it Right

Adam Silverstein of In-Store Experience explains why things “going wrong” isn’t always bad
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Posted February 13, 2019

This designer profile originally appeared in VMSD's January/February "Look Book" issue.

It’s not often that a store designer studies at college, completes an internship and more than a decade later is still with the same company that he learnt the ropes with as he headed towards qualification. That is Adam Silverstein’s story, Design Director and Senior Industrial Designer at Westport, Conn.-based In-Store Experience – it’s a tale of overcoming an initial belief that “industrial design is one of the most boring things that you can do” to a full-blown love-affair with the nuts and bolts of the retail design world.

At the heart of this thinking is the notion that success is dependent on understanding the direction of travel: “By 2009, it became very apparent that retail was changing,” Silverstein says. “Now it’s not just a giant warehouse that people go to, it’s about creating something totally unique.” He has a conviction that good store design is about “starting from ground zero” and in a lot of cases this begins with fixturing. He cites client Hershey & Co. (Hershey, Pa.) as a case in point: “They give very detailed briefs and want to get a certain thing in a certain place within a budget.”

Practically, this means going into a store. “We’ll sketch a few different solutions and then do a rendering for the client. We then go through prototypes and try something out. There’s plenty of times when you do something, then you prototype it, and it just doesn’t work. That’s why it’s key to prototype early on,” Silverstein notes.

And with the “change” in retail, tech inevitably comes into play. Silverstein says that when it comes to creating fixtures, the key is “using digital effectively, creating interactions that are a little bit more interesting.”

And do things go wrong? “Yes, things [go] wrong. That is why we try to fail early on,” says Silverstein. It’s fair to say, however that with a client list that includes Moen, Ralph Lauren, Unilever and electronics retailer P.C Richard & Son, Silverstein and his team get a lot more right than they do wrong.