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Royal Holloway Student Union, London

The second grocery retailer on our travels is located in Egham, Surrey. This fabulous new food hall is sited within the state of the art library complex that now graces an historic university campus. Made from copper panelling and glazing, the new building is also eco friendly, as is the new Royal Holloway Student Union Shop.

The designers, Retail Design Solutions Ltd, were tasked with a complex brief to create a unified and cutting edge interior that would also stock a very broad selection of produce, everything from Krispy Kreme doughnuts (the modern student’s favourite snack) to clothing. They had to develop a concept that was easy to navigate and stocked all the essentials, but looked incredible and would be a pleasure to shop.

From the moment you enter this innovative store its unique ambiance is clearly apparent. White, brick cladding and reclaimed timber used throughout the store aptly convey the modern, functional yet fabulous aesthetics. In the main section of the store sit a combination of natural wood units with plastic shelves and chilled cabinets which are edged with slate grey. Above these are placed monochrome signage to perfectly portray a rustic yet urban vibe. The flooring is grey so as not to detract from the warmth of the wood and the clarity of the white brickwork.

Freestanding shelving units are lined up systematically across the store to ensure it stays in the realms of convenience retailing. Further perimeter shelving lines the walls to enhance the regimented style. Above the units, the brick cladding brings a fresh, contemporary stance to this vibrant campus utility. Concise, bold signage with single words, such as eat and drink are simply stamped onto the brickwork. A mantra specifically aimed at its student audience - eat, drink, work, party, sleep - is also etched around the store’s walls. Further bespoke wood display tables grouped together featuring special dietary merchandise plus enormous oak barrels loaded with shopping bags, create eye catching points of reference across the sales floor. Gondola ends are also of particular note as they are edged with reclaimed wood that makes them highly noticeable and embodies the spirit of this store. The clothing section is similarly impressive - a giant size, wood clad wall cabinet complete with numerous box shaped shelves allows clothing to be displayed folded by colour. A central window allows a couple of items to be hung on display and drawers at the base contain additional stock.

The double height ceiling which is left open to reveal exposed vents and beams, has suspended spotlight trunking that also increases the feel of this very cool interior. A row of large, pendant lights that are hung between the fridge and the bank of central display units delivers yet another stunning focal point.

RDS provided a project management service to the University, overseeing the tender, shop fit out and retail fit out during the summer break to ensure it was operational in time for Freshers’ Week in September.

This exciting store would look suitably at home on any high street – Royal Holloway Student Union sets an excellent benchmark for grocery traders.



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