The Green Session: circular store design


In this first Green Session, we focus on the road to a fully circular store design.

To contribute to a sustainable vision, circularity is indispensable. But what does true circularity mean, and is hundred percent circularity feasible within store design? Host and sustainability expert Willa Stoutenbeek sat down with experts from the Bijenkorf, high-end tile producer Mosa, interior atelier Fiction Factory, and eyewear brand Ace & Tate about the ins and outs of circular store design.

Sustainability has become an undeniable part of every industry, and especially the concept circularity is getting more and more attention. This concept underlines the responsibility that design has with regard to a sustainable and regenerative future. As de Bijenkorf’s senior manager for store design Roel van Eijk explains: “A focus on circular store design means that as many parts as possible are reused and become part of other designs again.”

No circular store design without circular materials
One of the most relevant aspects when creating a circular store design, is the material. Head of design at Royal Mosa José Maase explains: “Over the years we have created new ways of working without losing the product experience that our customers want and expect. You have to catch up with new technologies that create new materials, without forgetting your heritage.” Ace and Tate’s retail design manager Berit Burema: “The key is to learn from your actions, track them and see what made an impact and what didn’t.”

Just like Royal Mosa, Ace and Tate, de Bijenkorf, and Fiction Factory all use innovative materials that have been made through concepts like recycling and zero-waste. Roel: “The great thing is that a lot of these new materials have a high-end look; sustainable design, without having to compromise on style.” Berit: “It gives us the chance to be creative. We need to start seeing the circularity question as a creative challenge and not as a limitation to the design process.”

The importance of reuse
Although the nature of the materials is of importance, the ability to easily detach them lies at the heart of circular design. Berit: “It is not only about sustainable materials but also about durability. We have to give our design longevity, so we can reuse it at a later time, but with the same expressive style and look as attached designs.” Sustainability manager at the Fiction Factory Marije Remigius agrees: “To create materials and products that have to be reused, they need to be disassembled easily in the first place. Especially in our business where we create interiors for exhibitions or theatre companies that only last for a maximum of three months.”

Sharing knowledge is key
The sustainability issue cannot be solved solely by one brand or company but requires collaboration and exchange of ideas and information. Roel: “To make an impact we have to work together on all levels within the industry; from suppliers and contractors to brands shops in our stores.” Marije: “Sharing information based on open source is a crucial step towards creating circular store design. When knowledge is shared, it can only grow.”



Lara Oliveri



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