Sunday, 23 April 2017

Fig1.2 - Opening Our New Shop

Designing and building our second shop has been a personal creative journey for me. 

The process of opening our second shop has been quite an exciting journey. We first took a look at a new unit at Bristol's Wapping Wharf back in August. Wapping Wharf is a unique development. It's in the docks in Bristol on a previously little used piece of land which has now been opened up as a walk way from South Bristol to the city - a route that takes you into the historic harbour to some of the best of Bristol. More than that, though, and more than other developments of a similar nature it has embraced Bristol's independent and creative spirit, from the metal work detailing by local craftsmen on the buildings to the now bustling selection of completely independent businesses in the area. The man who runs the development company for Wapping Wharf, Stuart Hatton, has been clear from the start that he wanted to create an independent and sustainable community here, not a run of the mill estate. Some of the best of Bristol has gathered at Wapping Wharf and so it was with great excitement that we looked into opening our second outlet there.

For me in particular it has been an opportunity to build something new on to what we already have. Creativity, making new spaces and new businesses are all part of my DNA - my Mum and Dad had several businesses when we were growing up and my Dad was a carpenter. Some of my first interests in interior design were born out of working with the family and so it feels in many ways that Fig2, as we now call the second shop amongst ourselves, was the culmination of years of experience. For me it was like we had a chance to take all the best bits of what I've learnt over the years of running Fig1 and make them sing: a chance to take apart and reassemble the business to really show off what it has become.

I love the process of planning, designing, imagining and building: of learning and creating. 

It's a long and sometimes tiring journey but it is filled with creativity and that is the really good stuff - the stuff I thrive on and love. Nothing beats the satisfaction of getting to the end of  a long and carefully planned project; being able to look at your work and say "I made this".

The process began by redesigning our branding for Fig1 - updating our logo, and developing some brand patterns and styles for our graphics. I worked on the brand update with my sister who is an illustrator. It was a learning process for both of us, but we wanted to do this work ourselves so that what we came up with was a set of graphics which really speak about Fig1 and which are appropriate to the business. What we came up with married design elements - geometric hexagons and rhombuses, an asterisk motif - tied together with more natural elements - paint splodges, textures and pen lines. To us, it's a frame work in which we can speak visually about the creativity and design we love.

This graphics work was first as we wanted it to inform the interiors. I've worked many times with my Dad on interiors projects, helping him design and build furniture for a delicatessen as well as working on the original Fig1 shop. He's retired now but you never truly put down your tools and so, for the shop build, I had the great pleasure of working with him again. A much bigger space than the other shop, we wanted to keep the design elements clean and clear, to use the new branding and to allow space for lighting and furniture.

Part of the process of designing and building is learning. We wanted to work with new materials - plywood with a laminate finish, scaffold pole, industrial lighting but softened and made flexible enough to change with the business. Bringing all these elements together took research, planning and a hard graft with the final build being done in just 4 weeks so we could open before Christmas. We're thrilled with the results and really enjoying meeting new customers and colleagues at Wapping Wharf.

Fig1 Wapping Wharf opened the Saturday before Christmas but will be having a full launch soon.

To Celebrate opening we have a 15% Discount code active until 1st May 2017 of MyOpenShop to use in store or online - download the voucher!

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