Robo-Fish Reno

I don’t get all the fuss that’s going on at my workplace right now. It concerns the renovation that the store is currently undergoing… oh, excuse me. It’s a retail concept reboot that’s currently underway, not a simple commercial renovation.

I’ll acknowledge that it is pretty darned conceptual. Apparently, sneaker aficionados these days want an immersive experience with their footwear purchase if they’re going to bother making it at a bricks-and-mortar store. It seems that that translates to some pretty wild commercial interior design concepts. Melbourne has never seen a shoe store like this before, according to retail industry pundits.

It all sounds a tad overblown to me. How much difference can a transparent glass floor really make in dragging customers back from the clutches of online retail? Granted, the glass in question looks down onto an aquarium filled with robotic fish. I guess that’s kind of cool (not to mention distinctly more ethical than using real fish). According to the creative director, it alludes to unspoken questions about what goes on beneath our feet, and, uh… we wear sneakers on our feet. There’s a concept.

Personally, I’d be more interested in a clean and efficient design that makes it easier to do my job. When it comes to workspace fitouts, Melbourne has some genuinely interest stuff going on in terms of facilitating quality work from employees. I guess I have to concede that getting people excited about sneakers is a big part of my job, and the robo-fish could go a fair way towards achieving that end. But, at the end of the day, is it going be functional?

There’s nothing to say that we can’t have the best of both worlds: fish flooring and functional finesse. I just don’t quite trust the people in charge to not get carried away with the novelty factor and forget about how the space will affect those who actually have to work in it.