University of Arts London: From Concept to Installation

Tenn LTD and UAL collaborated for the first time to produce and install three arts shop for London’s Art University campuses. Working closely with Luca Beckerson of UAL, each store saw Tenn LTD make serval site visits and surveys in order to aid Tenn’s in-house CAD Technician, Johnny to produce full store renders and technical drawings – read the full process below


When visiting each store and completing extensive research, we found browsing an art shop has a unique customer experience, the customer browses with aspirations of what they could achieve and a hard practicality of what they are looking to achieve.

Render Floorplan: Customer Experience

One of the challenges with art shops is there is a huge variety of shapes and sizes of specialist product craft with each supplier offering to supply their own merchandiser to display their individual product.  The issue is the stores tend to look a mishmash of merchandising styles and branding, the issue is more than just aesthetic as these individual systems need to work well together where space is tight.  It is also ironic that the product is often sold to a customer base who is sensitive to aesthetics.

When UAL approached Tenn Ltd they came armed with a strong desire to make the space work for them on a practical and visual level.  When reviewing various option one of the proposals Tenn Ltd put forward was a retails system by ALU called slash.

Render: ALU Slash and Pegboard

Slash is a merchandising system which is produced in Italy and comes in a natural bright mild steel finish with a clear powder coat.  The clear powder coat protects the steel and merchandise giving a sophisticated urban aesthetic – this was balanced against birch plywood used for shelves and low-level cubbies. The birch plywood was then finished with a natural finish lacquer which allowed the woods natural beauty to shine through and balance against the hard grey of the steel.  The other main material feature was a white composite quartz which was used as the countertop in Archway which settled aesthetically between the wood and steel.

Render: Birch Ply cupboards

Working with Luca Beckerson, UAL Retail and Catering Design Project Manager, Tenn Ltd developed and manufactured a variety of specialist fixings such as the fabric dispenser and paper display.  These followed a similar feel to the ALU standard system using similar materials and sections of ERW tubing.  A counter levelled pegboard was also developed working of the ALU slash system.

Render: Fabric stand 

Tenn Ltd went on to manufacture and install the equipment across three of the University of Londons sites, which included Archway, Camberwell and London College of Communication.

Part of some redevelopment work at the university, CSM Byam Shaw Campus was the first completed store – the store saw a beautiful hexagonal black and white floor which complemented the clean recently finished store – as opposed to Camberwell which retained many of its original features.

The success of both stores was to maximise the retail display space with a good array of display and visual merchandising solutions for a disparate set of merchandise.  Everything was brought together with a well-considered use of space form and materials.

See more of the final install pictures