IN COLLABORATION WITH STEVEN WORTHINGTON
In this project we were faced with reimagining the already successful system of the Lowes superstores. We initially were encouraged to explore the systems of mechanical arms and somehow infuse those into the system that is already there. My partner and I came up with this concept of compartmentalizing the stock into 5 separate nodes throughout the store based on use and size. Each of these nodes has individual stations where a customer can go up to a screen, scroll through all the available inventory, and choose what they want to buy and these items would then be delivered to that customer at that station. Within each node there are two systems of mechanical arms working. There is one system of mechanical arms that connects to the storage rooms in the back, restocking the shelves from within. These arms restock the nodes by putting items in their designated locations on the shelves from the backs, while the second system of arms travels throughout the outer side of the shelves delivering the items to the customers at the station where they were ordered.
When designing these nodes we used the concept of the flowing crowds to influence their shape. Each node combines the organizational system of the grid of the moving mechanical arms above, as well as the flowing crowd to generate the forms of both the nodes and open-public spaces. The open-public spaces consist of the garden shopping area, demonstration area, and the café.
Within Lowes today the consumer is interlaced with the systems of restocking. In our reimagined Lowes we separate the systems so the restocking systems only exist within the nodes and above the open area. This will ideally streamline the consumer experience by extracting the restocking system from within the customers shopping experience letting the customers shop uninterrupted.
From there, rather than hiding away the mechanical systems we decided to display them. Lowes doesn’t hide its industrial side instead they embrace it. We kept that concept without letting it be a part of the consumer experience. We want to use the systems as part of an attraction. The mechanical arms flying back and forth between storage in the back and each node is displayed above as the everyday shopping goes on below. This concept of the “system as a spectacle” makes going to Lowes more than a trip people make out of necessity. This spectacle combined with the café area and demonstration area makes Lowes a more interesting place to explore.