Melanie Lyne

2005 VM+SD Retail Renovation Competition Winner
Posted August 15, 2005

Award of Merit
Sales Area under 10,000 sq. ft.

Carrefour Laval, Laval, Que.

Melanie Lyne, part of the Laura Canada chain of fashion apparel stores, wanted to bring its high-end women's clothing store into the 21st Century and make "essential improvements" to its existing location.

Montreal-based Ruscio Studio took on the task of renovating and salvaging as much of the existing elements as possible. Says Yvette Casia, project manager and interior designer for Ruscio, "Our design approach was more like an extreme makeover with minor surgery. We were able to work with a large part of the existing ceiling, all of the display niches and tile pattern."

In turn, the focus was placed on designing a new storefront, in order to relieve the congestion around the cash wrap area, and creating a focal point at the rear wall of the store. The original storefront had glass bi-fold doors that were not welcoming. To create a more inviting storefront, the entrance was enlarged from 8 feet to 21 feet. "This, combined with the large existing display window, lets the client shop the store at a glance," says Casia. "In addition, the entire storefront was refinished with a combination of soft beige stone slabs."

The introduction of nesting tables into a space that typically had tall hanging racks permitted folded garments and helped lighten the store's visual landscape.

Designers also had to deal with the cashwrap and back bar units, which were enveloped by two wing walls, shielding them from the rest of the store. "The bottleneck situation created at the cashwrap during peak hours not only hindered circulation in this area, but also separated the front and back portions of the store," says Casia. "By eliminating these wing walls and exposing the cashwrap and back bar units, clients now feel less intimidated to explore the back portion of the store."

Another feature that helps draw the clientele's attention to the back of the store is a large graphic of a young woman's eyes, printed on metallic vinyl wallcovering. Also in the back is a display platform placed in front of the fitting rooms to evoke a sense of fashion and elegance.

Client: Laura Canada, Laval, Que.
Charles Fisher, director of construction

Design: Ruscio Studio, Montreal
Robert Ruscio, president, interior designer
Yvette Casia, project manager, interior designer
Pierre Bernard, technician

General Contractor: Construction Claude Joly, Mirabel, Que.

Graphic Wallcovering: Metro Wallcoverings, Montreal

Photography: Yvan Dubé, Longueuil, Que.