Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Project 1 - Nordstroms

For this assignment I decided to go to Nordstroms to see how a huge department store might be organized. I felt that this could help me get ideas on how to lay things out in the relatively large Jack Adams Hall. Though Nordstrom’s aesthetic was obviously dated, I felt that there were a few key successes in their layout. First was the abundant lighting through multiple large glass entrances and one large skylight in the center of the store. I felt this was interesting because, rather than mask the overpowering cavern of the space, the lights served to accentuate its size to the point that it became a much more agreeable “open area”, rather than a “menacing cave”. I am not familiar with the lighting possibilities in Jack Adams Hall, though, so this could be an entirely inapplicable effect for our purposes. The second key success in Nordstroms, and the one probably most essential for our purposes, was the use of clusters to divide the space into bite-sized chunks. That is, the grouping of like objects in an area, which creates a smaller, more graspable space in a larger space. What I found interesting about Nordstrom’s clusters was that no definite boundaries set the clusters apart (walls, etc.), rather boundaries were suggested by the positioning of objects and walkways, and assumed by the mind. Thus, when you entered a cluster, you forgot about the vastness of the rest of the space, and focused only on this new, easily digested space you had just walked in to.

I was unable to very accurately plot out the hugeness of the store, so here’s a very general outline of its layout.


(Blogger has kindly resized it to illegibility).

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