Columbia Winery Project (or, 'Wine & Margaritas'!)

What have I been up to lately?

I've just completed the design for the Columbia Winery remodel project. It's been a few months in process, and there is always a cheer and a sigh of relief when I reach the end of a project.

When I design for a client, I create visual concepts...which means, all of the ideas and materials and specifications that are included in the design illustrate what the final product will look like. Drawings, floorplans, perspective views, detail close-ups, color swatches, style sheets, et al combine to present my vision.


I based it on the brand image of the winery, as I do all of my clients, and I also call upon my knowledge of how the staff and guests need to be able to use the facility on a day to day basis. Any other designer could draw up a floorplan or cabinet face, but since I've been working with Columbia for five years developing their brand image through visual presentation, and watching the staff activities each day, I have an advantage that Columbia is benefitting from.
There's a saying that goes 'Form Follows Function' - have you heard that one? It means that design for design's sake isn't always successful. You have to start with the purpose, and move on to the appearance. How much room do they need over here? How many ways can we use that space? Lighting has to be on dimmers for the many ways the rooms are used. It's not just picking a fabric for the chairs (which can take heavy use and hide dirt, like the carpets) and paint for the walls (which is an expression of the colors on the wine labels)!
From the design specs, an architect will develop the floorplan according to codes and such, a contractor will build that into reality, and then the painters and woodworkers and furniture makers and electricians and carpet guys will converge to add the details. And when all is said and done, I'll probably be going in to help arrange the furniture and lamps and flower arrangements and merchandise displays. I love that moment when the drawings spring to life and I can stand in the space in 3-D, and the reality is exactly what I've seen in my head for months.

That point of time is a way off, but for now, I'm done - I hand the binder filled with info and stack of catalogs over tomorrow. Then I can focus on getting ready for a trip to see my new grandson and enjoy Christmas holding sweet baby, and sippin' margaritas on the RiverWalk in San Antonio! (Not at the same time!)

ALL images Copyright 2008/9 DWK, all other use prohibited.

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK