Merle Norman Cosmetics and Day Spa, Calgary, Canada

by Sarah 20 December 2012
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    A balanced experience of service and style, beauty and function. Personal care is about maintaining a delicate balance between health and beauty. In the same way, the design of a new space for Merle Norman in Chinook Centre, Calgary, was about maintaining a similar balance – between beauty and functionality.

    Karo’s key mandate was to ensure maximum functionality within minimal square footage, all while establishing a sparkling backdrop for an exquisite service and retail experience. The program required that retail, demonstration, massage and other spa services co-exist simultaneously, and all within only 137 square meters.

    There was no room to spare. Karo established distinct functional zones throughout the space, moving from public retail areas towards private spa treatment rooms. In the retail portion of the space, these functional zones are articulated architecturally through circular motifs in ceilings, partitions and millwork. A colour palette of soft greens and creams was chosen to maintain a delicate, feminine feeling while strong charcoal grey provides contrast, and a clean contemporary aesthetic.

    The storefront designed for Merle Norman provides another strongly contrasting contemporary element, with a polished stainless steel arch floating in a field of glass. Clean glass planes provide an open invitation to browse the beautifully displayed product, while the polished steel arch frames views into the front retail-focused zone of the interior. The entire view is then trimmed with glimmering black tile and delicate floating signage, drawing the eye in towards the interior. Custom millwork throughout houses a vast product offering, allowing staff access to the touchpoints they need to demonstrate both the product and their expertise. Signage and graphics are also customized and add another layer of detail to the experience.

    The completed store offers function and aesthetics, creating a beautiful experience for customers and staff alike.


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