This category contains 64 posts

Architecture + Branding: Sparse American Apparel retail store design shifts focus squarely on merchandise

1-Twin streams After a disappointing Christmas holiday shopping season, many retailers, and especially fashion retailers, tend to dominate the business headlines for several weeks into the new year. However, for L.A.-based American Apparel, the troubles began much earlier. On October 5, 2015, after tumultuous years, the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Panda Express sheds old aesthetics and forges ahead into bright and fresh future

1-Holding court Ever present in food courts, malls, casinos, airports, college campuses, and military bases, Panda Express currently offers its take on American-Chinese cuisine across much of the United States. Tracing its origins to 1973 and the Panda Inn in Pasadena, California, the Panda Express brand opened its first location in the Glendale Galleria in … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Modern design movement increasingly challenging the pleasantly simple Waffle House aesthetic

1-Southern charm Almost everyone who has travelled the roads of the American South has come across a Waffle House restaurant. Revered by its faithful, featured in Hollywood movies, referenced in popular music, WaHo is a regional cultural icon. Yet, although the brand has a presence in the northern states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Arizona in … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Price Chopper attempts to shed old labels and recast the grocery store for what’s next

1-Industry under siege The grocery business has generated significant press in recent months, and not necessarily for similar reasons. In the summer of 2015, Whole Foods’s New York City weight debacle surfaced, tarnishing the brand’s enviable reputation, and putting a dent in its esteem on both Main Street and Wall Street (source: cnbc.com). Internet retailer … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Customization and personalization, MINI brand hallmarks, evident across their dealership portfolio

1-Hello! Again. When MINI burst back onto the scene in 2001, it was an automotive revolution. A spiritual successor to Alec Issigonis’s iconic 1960’s era Morris Mini-Minor/Austin Mini models, the new MINI Cooper combined British cult car nostalgia with modern German engineering and manufacturing. Small, quirky, funky, the new MINI combined unique style with tossable … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Outback Steakhouse sheds understated aesthetic for expressive modern design

1-Australia Americanized In the mid-1980s, Paul Hogan’s “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” character was thrust into American popular culture with the 1986 theatrical release of the “‘Crocodile’ Dundee” movie. Along with Paul Hogan’s rising fame, American interest and fascination for all things Australia were gaining in popularity. At the height of Australian fixation, friends whom had longed to … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Payless ShoeSource ties up its expansive store portfolio with colours

1-We aren’t (just) in Kansas anymore Located in malls, shopping strips/power centres and street-facing addresses, Payless ShoeSource stores are common across the nation. The undisputed “specialty family footwear retailer” in the Western Hemisphere, Payless eclipses other national footwear/shoe retail chains, doubling or tripling rivals such as Famous Footwear, Footlocker, Journey’s, Shoe Show or The Shoe … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Inconsistent design and location first approach ultimately dilutes GAP’s questionable built design equity

1-Tough slog It has been rather difficult slog for fashion retail in the last few quarters. Canadian retailers MEXX, and Jacob, have shuttered their operations. In early 2015, Wet Seal, Aéropostale, and Deb Shops have announced that they will be shuttering stores, or will be ceasing operations altogether. (source: retailndustry.about.com, cnbc.com). Photo: MEXX, front 3/4 view, 4190 Rue St-Denis … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Deconstructing Texas Roadhouse’s freestanding prototype designs reveal a symbiotic dependency on building form

1-Roadhouse redefined Located principally along major thoroughfares, interstates, highways and freeways, Texas Roadhouse has steadily become a recognizable fixture to commuters and travellers trekking along such heavily travelled traffic corridors over the past two decades. However, back in 1993, the familiar rustic die had yet to be cast. Back then, founder Kent Taylor opened the … Continue reading

Architecture + Branding: Chevrolet driving dealer body towards a future under the blue arch

1-Narrowing the focus In the post-WWII era to around the Nixon presidency, General Motors (GM) dictated much of the American automotive scene. In the decades since, GM has stumbled and squandered much of their legacy and goodwill through mismanagement, general unresponsiveness to changing market demands and lacklustre product quality. Import brands had chipped away at … Continue reading