Change - D|Fab

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Change - D|Fab
Problem/Solution
Signs of
Change
A Dominican electronics retailer uses
open architecture and a sleek graphics
package to shed its warehouse image.
By Steve Kaufman, Editor at Large
32 May 2011 | vmsd.com
Corripio had become one of the largest consumer
electronics and appliance retailers in the Dominican Republic by employing a warehouse-style store
format. Even the name, Distribuidora Corripio, suggested these products came direct from the factory
to the consumer at the lowest possible prices in a
no-frills environment.
But for its newest store, on a busy Santo Domingo
street corner, Corripio has reversed gears. The store
is still a mammoth 86,000-square-foot space with
22-foot-high ceilings. But the retailer has dropped
“Distribuidora” (distributor) from exterior signage
on the building. And from the sleek, angular exterior
Cou rt es y of Co rri pi o
Opposite page Corripio, the
giant Dominican Republic
electronics retailer, uses a
modern graphics package and
blue color palette to convey
a new brand message to
consumers.
architecture on in, the goal was for a sophisticated,
urban environment.
Dominican architect Javier Robledo created a
light, open shell with various merchandise zones
and lots of wall space for graphics that delineate
the product areas. The floorplan also includes a
network of drive aisles that propel shoppers from the
entryway through merchandised intersections to the
perimeter product areas.
To fill in the shell and give the store color, intimacy and direction, Corripio turned to Design Fabrications Inc. (D|Fab, Madison Heights, Mich.). “They
knew what they wanted to do,” says D|Fab executive
Above The remake
Below A series of
starts on the outside, a
modernistic fin-shaped
building sparsely signed
save for the retailer’s
red logo.
fabricated ceiling
elements lead the way
to a back wall of largescreen TVs.
vp Tony Camilletti, “but they didn’t feel they had the
capabilities for either the design or the fabrication.”
The design intent was to bring some architectural
elements down from the high ceilings to lessen the
big-space feel and delineate the drive aisles. One of
Robledo’s notions was a series of metallic blue and
white geometric squares that undulate like waves from
the entrance toward a rear wall full of big-screen TVs.
Dramatic, to be sure. In fact, it’s complicated because
of the size, weight and difficulty of installation.
So D|Fab made a hollow frame-built component,
substituting a lighter, less-expensive wood product
for metal, and painted it with a high-gloss automovmsd.com | May 2011
33
Above Large lifestyle
graphics hang in various
departments, such as this
one in the kitchen area.
Right A few splashes of
red in a sea of blue recall
the retailer’s off-price
warehouse past.
34 May 2011 | vmsd.com
tive finish to get the shine and sleekness of metal. “It
was easier and cheaper to ship,” Camilletti says, “and
easier to manage in the store.”
For three other primary intersections in the aisle,
D|Fab produced large blue rings hanging from the
ceiling, some with wayfinding information, and each
with a disc containing the Corripio logo floating in
the center.
For the store’s new graphics program, designers
chose a series of 7-foot-high lifestyle posters showing
consumers enjoying the products. “We wanted lifestyle images rather than product images,” Camilletti
says. “Electronics change rapidly and product-related
graphics can become obsolete quickly. But the way
people enjoy using them never changes.”
So in the appliance section, visitors see an image
of a young girl watching a pizza bake inside an oven.
At the front of the store, an 80-foot-long mural of a
woman operating a TV remote control wraps around
the entire entryway. One amusing graphic in the air
conditioning department shows a woman leaning
forward to cool herself in front of an old-fashioned
electric rotary fan.
To complement the predominantly blue and white
color palette, a vinyl covering of sky blue with a white
cloud pattern was added to the walls. In fact, the use
of blue was a key element of the strategic plan.
The retailer’s logo, familiar throughout the Dominican Republic, is red. And the clean, white exterior of
the ultra-modern building bears that logo in the same
unmistakably bright shade. But the dominant color
throughout the inside of the store is a deep, clean blue –
the blue of the island sky and the Caribbean Sea.
“Corripio felt red conveys a discount image,
the old image,” Camilletti says. “Blue is modern,
high-tech, streamlined. It’s the essence of today’s
consumer electronics technology and the image they
wanted to convey. They no longer want to be seen as
simply a warehouse distributor.” x
project suppliers
Retailer
Fixtures
Corripio, Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
Mercalia-Sonelec S.A., Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic
Design
Flooring
Valquiria S.A, Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
Cerarte, Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
Outside Design Consultant
Furniture
D|Fab, Madison Heights, Mich.
(interior graphics and decor)
Audio/Visual
ABItronix LLC, Flanders, N.J.
Ceilings
Acero Estrella, Santiago,
Dominican Republic
Mercalia-Sonelec S.A., Santo
Domingo, Dominican Republic
Wallcoverings and Materials
Suplitec, Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
For a full list of suppliers,
go to vmsd.com.
vmsd.com | May 2011
35

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