Our goal was to create a gift shop that would serve as its own unique experience while still enhancing and complimenting the pier’s other operational spaces. To do so we would entice, immerse, and educate visitors via wall, floor, and ceiling graphics that would mimic the gift shop’s immediate environment – the pier itself and the sea life teaming in its waters below. So, in addition to designing and branding The Pier Shop’s new logo and signage, we created thematic scenes featuring crashing waves, bubbles, native fish species, underwater panoramas, sand bottoms, and pier pilings inspired by the surrounding natural habitats to bring the outside in, a continuation to what visitors experience as they explore the pier.
To accomplish the transformation, we started at the entrance, directly across from the bait and tackle sales counter in the main pier lobby. The shop’s old, grey drywall exterior wall was turned into an underwater crashing wave with round bubble portholes allowing viewers a peek inside. This movement toward the main entrance was mimicked on the right-side wall where the continuation of the wave graphic extended. A bright, translucent acrylic sign of the newly designed Pier Shop logo was suspended above the entrance as if floating in water.
We then created interpretive graphics of the local fish species anglers could expect to find along the wall soffit, which ran overhead through the lobby entrance into the gift shop interior leading curious visitor eyes through its doors. Staff have since commented that while guests are at the bait and tackle desk, the most frequently asked question is “what’s being caught today?”. Staff say all they have to do is look up and point toward the soffit to identify and educate visitors as to what species is frequenting the pier’s waters that day.
Once inside the shop, we went for total immersion from floor to ceiling. We disguised structural columns as underwater pier pilings to show the perspective of the animals swimming beneath the pier, something most visitors will never experience. A floor mural running around the inside walls uses an optical illusion to appear as if that part of the floor has been removed to give the vantage point of peeking through to the ocean waves below. We included fish, rays, and a sea turtle to captivate visitors, but the floor mural also served to hide previous floor damage. More wave graphics were used to minimize the impact of industrial appliances in the food and beverage area so that they would blend seamlessly into the surrounding underwater scene. Finally, we also included silhouettes of fish that swim above visitors’ heads on the ceiling to truly immerse them in the underwater environment.