With over 5.8 million people visiting Tate Modern last year the gallery is now one of the top three attractions in the UK (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The Tate has invested heavily in developing an exhibition space that appeals to today's audience regardless of their age, social class, gender, income, or ethnicity. And with ever changing displays, that incorporate interaction as well as the more traditional appreciation of art, Tate Modern is set to increase in popularity.
To complement the visitor experience Tate Modern understand the importance of creating a shop with the right ambience and design that reflects its brand perfectly, but doesn't undermine the ultimate goal of achieving sales. Situated on the main floor of Tate Modern, the gallery shop has an extensive range of prints, books, and products. There are limited editions, and artists' products and prints. Children too will be delighted with the gifts that are on offer, and the shop is seen as part of the gallery experience rather than an add-on.
Yet the retail experience has to be kept fresh and reflect the current exhibitions on display. The visitor journey has to be carefully thought through to facilitate smooth movement through the shop, despite the large footfall, and enable the potential customer to view every product comfortably, continuing their experience of visiting the gallery. The space is designed to be welcoming, with wall colours carefully chosen to enhance the prints on sale rather than distracting from them. Even the arrangement of the prints is essential so that the customer has time to view them without affecting the flow of people through the shop.
Sales too can be driven by the physical position of shelves, and Tate Modern are experienced in arranging shelves so that their visitors have the best opportunity to enjoy the products on display, as well as purchase them. A visit to the Tate Modern shop is designed to be a highly pleasurable experience, but what about the practicalities behind creating such a space?
We have been a preferred contractor of Tate Modern for many years and were instrumental in ensuring the smooth build of the Hockney Exhibition earlier this year. We were therefore pleased to be able to assist them again with the redecoration of the shop. Our job was to remove the current prints and shelving from the edition and till wall and make good the surfaces. We then repainted the edition walls with Farrow and Ball's Drawing Room Blue and the wall behind the tills with Little Green Company's Absolute Matt Emulsion.
Once the walls were dry we installed new prints as directed, and reinstated the shelves to new positions so that fresh displays could be created. Finally, we installed vinyl lettering and ensured that the area was left clean and tidy.
We were really pleased with the job and happy that it was completed within the time specified. The shop looked fresh and enabled Tate Modern to display their new work that reflects the gallery's values.