Lane Bryant

2005 VM+SD Retail Renovation Competition Winner
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Posted August 15, 2005
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First Place
Specialty Store, Sales Area under 10,000 sq.ft.
Easton Towne Center, Columbus, Ohio

Plus-size customers often resort to catalogs to find what everybody else can get at the mall, just so they don't have to go into a store to try on clothes.

So when Lane Bryant decided to move into Columbus' Easton Town Center, the retailer knew it would need some help renovating the space in order to showcase its dramatic brand repositioning and focus on the latest fashions.

Chute Gerdeman (Columbus, Ohio) took on the challenge of renovating what originally was a PO Furnishings store with the intent of showcasing Lane Bryant's fashion-forward brand. It is a highly desirable location, with Express, New York & Co., Victoria's Secret, The Limited and Guess among its neighbors.

But, as is often the case with a renovation, some of the existing architecture had to be re-examined. In this case, the challenges started with the exterior.

"The storefront was bland; it blended in with about four other storefronts," says Mindi Trank, Chute Gerdeman's program director. "We wanted to create a dramatic entrance and give it visual dominance, so we added a large block of red and white glass to draw in customers."

Then there was the 17-foot ceiling, which was extremely high for a typical retail location. While that was regarded as advantageous for visual presentation and product merchandising, designers didn't want the space to overwhelm the customers.

"We wanted to bring intimacy into the customer shopping experience," says Trank, "so we placed a ceiling grid at a more traditional ceiling height down the middle of the store and used it as a way to bring light down to the product."

Since the space was so tall and boxy, designers added stylized archway fixturing with warm wood to help balance the scale of the space. "This created vignettes where Lane Bryant could merchandise collections," says Trank, "and created alcoves for the customer to shop within."

The large space is anchored by a "runway" that runs down the middle of the store, helping to reinforce Lane Bryant's new positioning. Throughout the store, plus-sized mannequins give customers an idea of how clothes will fit.

"The store is very original," said one of the judges. "The fixtures are integrated very architecturally into the space, creating a striking 3-D effect," commented another.

Client: Lane Bryant, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Tom Carr, store design director, Charming Shoppes
Kolby Veenstra, senior brand presentation manager, Lane Bryant
Jon Nubbemeyer, director of construction, Charming Shoppes
Mary Dawson, creative director, Lane Bryant

Design: Chute Gerdeman, Columbus, Ohio
Mindi Trank, program director
Tony Oliver, creative director, environments
Steve Pottschmidt, design development director
Carmen Costinescu, materials specialist
Eric Daniel, creative director, graphics

Architect: CG Architecture, Columbus, Ohio

General Contractor: Construction One, Columbus, Ohio

Ceiling: Interior Furnishing Merchandisers, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Fabrics: Maharam, New York
Bernhardt Textiles, Lenoir, N.C.

Fixtures: TC Millwork, Bensalem, Pa.
Garvey, Red Bank, N.J.

Flooring: Crossville Porcelain, Crossville, N.Y.

Furniture: Texstyle, River Vale, N.Y.

Lighting: Amerlux Lighting Solutions, Fairfield, N.J.

Mannequins/Forms: Greneker Solutions, Los Angeles

Decorative Wall Panels: Modular Art, Mountlake Terrace, Wash.

Wallcoverings: Benjamin Moore Paint Co., Montvale, N.J.
Sherwin-Williams, Garfield Heights, Ohio
MDC Wallcoverings, Elk Grove, Ill.

Wood Veneers: Veneer Specialists, Chicago

Storefront Canopy: Hanover Signs, Columbus, Ohio
Corporate Glass, Erie, Pa.

Photography: Eclipse Studios Inc., Dublin, Ohio