A university bookstore is a place where the academic community and the neighborhood community come together. Smart retail design transforms a bland bookstore into a welcoming environment for both.
Brown University’s bookstore did not work for its students and did not appeal to residents in the neighborhood. Recognizing that they needed keen retail design to improve the bookstore and elevate the brand, Brown University enlisted Bergmeyer.
Understanding that shoppers’ impressions form on the street, Bergmeyer’s design strategy starts outside the building. A bold new signage system and additional entries at the café and the back of the building give a strong street presence to the store. By removing product displays from the windows, light and activity penetrate to the street, beckoning to passersby.
Inside, the store feels like a bustling neighborhood bookshop. By removing display cases, relocating the cash desk, and highlighting the general book section, first floor spaces now offer a welcoming arrival sequence. Two central stairways provide visual connection and a clear path of circulation between floors. The store is also equipped with a campus shop, café, kids’ area, a community meeting room, and multiple seating areas that redefine the bookstore experience and encourage interaction between students and residents.