• cazir naroth architects

Foot Focus Phase 1 – A Fashion Powerhouse

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

commercial I aadila kajee I september 2019

location: Briardene, Durban

status: ongoing

year: 2019

Designed by Cazir Naroth Architects, Foot Focus – Phase 1 is the second fashion house project which the firm has had the pleasure of being involved in. The design of Phase 1, which entailed showrooms and offices on the ground floor of Foot Focus’s existing premises, is one which is bold yet classy, much like the Foot Focus brand and products.

Foot Focus is South Africa’s largest independent manufacturer and supplier of footwear and clothing. The company has evolved rapidly from the humble beginnings of a family-owned shoe shop in Durban in 1994 to one of the country’s leading footwear manufacturers and clothing suppliers, employing a futuristic vision of global fashion trends (Foot Focus).

Background and Brief

Phase 1 of the Foot Focus project provided an exciting yet difficult challenge for the team at Cazir Naroth Architects. Situated in the client’s existing warehouse, the design of the showrooms and offices were a labyrinth of passages and office spaces, which were not conducive to a productive work environment and did not reflect the client’s brand and ethos. The objective was to turn this dated and bland space into one which was functional, spacious and timeless.

The brief was a product of not only the client’s requirements but his staff as well. Ensuring that the facilities provided would be useful to all its occupants was of utmost importance. The client specified that he wanted a modern space which felt open and flowed well.

With input from the client and his staff, the architects were able to achieve a space in which Foot Focus could be proud to call their own.

Approach to Phase 1

The proposed design had to work within existing parameters due to it not being a new build.

The client specified which spaces would not be redesigned in Phase 1. These included the reception, two offices, and a showroom. The spaces which were not included in these fixed spaces presented the area in which the new facilities would be located.

Before focusing on the details and branding of each showroom and the feel of the open plan and private offices, space planning was critical. An H-Shaped circulation route was created with showrooms and offices running along the two main circulation routes and down the centre. A third circulation route which connects the two main routes forms the H-Shaped circulation. Artwork and wallpaper bring in colour and provide visual interest along these arteries. The showrooms are located closer to the reception to allow for easy access for buyers and visitors. The open plan and private offices were placed next to the warehouse so that admin and office staff could easily liaise with warehouse staff when need be.

Once the accommodations required had been placed and the circulation and flow through these spaces were resolved, each room was paid close attention to. The showrooms were designed according to the fashion brand which it would be housing. The objective was that the showroom would reflect the identity of the products and each showroom is therefore different to the next.

The Dolce Vita Showroom required a space which was glamorous and high end. This was achieved using focal lighting, brushed aluminium fittings, black steel frames, grey, and timber display boxes and was tied together with a bold wall graphic. The Rue21 showroom, much like the Dolce Vita showroom uses black steel frames with timber and grey display boxes to create a chic showroom which is simple, functional and classy.

The Fashion Park showrooms were more understated, reflecting a product which provided everyday wear. Two showrooms were designed and built; a Summer showroom and a Winter showroom. The Winter showroom was celebrated using wintery aubergines and magenta wall paints, while the Summer showroom was brought to life using summery yellows and green wall paints. Both showrooms have a mix of porcelain tiles and timber look vinyl flooring. The showrooms are tied together with a transparent graphic running along the interleading glass sliding doors between the showrooms, which expresses the urban feel of the brand. The shopfronts of the showrooms are visually tied together with a colourful graphic. Fixed and moveable steel-framed hanging and display units have been used to maximise display space and allow for a flexible arrangement.

The open-plan offices are a mixture of shades of grey, duck egg blue and touches of rose gold incorporated through lighting and custom-made wall decorations. These colours come together with glossy porcelain tiles to create a modern and elegant working space.

The Way Forward

Having completed the construction for Phase 1, this movement of modernisation will be making its way through the entire Foot Focus building starting with the ground floor and moving up, with Phase 2 being designed at the time of this publication.

The team at Cazir Naroth Architects looks forward to designing and sharing this continuing process of development.

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