Design and sense construction: The shopping experience

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Over these last few years, Retail Spaces have represented the visible side of the strong currents of change brought about by new policies of economic exchange. Retail Industries have found themselves in a position in which they are forced to operate in global markets where competition no longer signifies the loss of market sections merely through price policies. Indeed, competition has now come to incorporate the competitive value of the product-system. This is proven by the development in the design of sales spaces, which have also undergone such a radical change to require completely new skills. However, while aesthetic augmentation is a powerful tool for creating a visual experience, superficial aesthetics alone do not satisfy consumer expectations; information and service richness are crucial. Design is read as the promoter of reconfiguration planning processes, always looking for new languages able to enhance identities, productive and cultural specificities and built new project landscapes where the space is experienced as a symbolic and relational place. The narrative process becomes the tool able to define experiences, perception and sense levels, it can be read as an expression of a new project approach, focalised not only on the end product but especially on the process and generative path behind it. This paper focuses on the latest theoretical interests that animate the debate within the Retail design disciplines. Starting from a workshop carried out in the retail design field, the authors will introduce the narrative practices that take place in the project development. In this field the linguistic repertoires, the rhetorical devices of narrative and the dialogical practices become either cognitive and understanding devices as well as construction of sense in order to define a persuasive approach of the new surrounded by the sphere of public feeling. © Common Ground, Valeria Iannilli and Federica Vacca, All Rights Reserved.

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