Hot Topic Brings Social and Technological
Components to the Shopping Experience
Hot topic is all about music and pop culture—and the newest evolution of the store environment
is no exception. Designed by southfield,
mich.-based JGa in collaboration with Hot
topic’s store design department and in-store technology company cRi, the
1,600-square foot santa monica, calif.,
store is technical, sleek, and transparent.
The challenge was to create an environment
that mirrors the world of Hot topic’s young,
tech-savvy customers, connects social and
technological components, and brings the
music to life in the store.
cast acrylic, molded metals, and media
technology contribute to the store’s high-
tech feel, supporting its merchandise,
music- and pop-culture-influenced apparel
and accessories for 12- to-22-year-olds.
JGa’s chairman Ken Nisch says, “The point
of difference within this new concept is the
use of the organic, technical, and in many
cases transparent shapes, along with inter-
nal illumination for accessory fixtures.”
For example, the storefront’s externally
illuminated letters are sandwiched between
the inside and outside of the glass to cre-
ate a dimensional effect, “as if the glass
is slicing through them,” Nisch says. the
rest of the storefront provides total visi-
bility into the space within a reflective tile/
concrete board framework. the twisted
See slideshow with more images of this project
acrylic prisms feature projections that mirror what is being displayed on the backwall
screen of music-related images.
“The whole basis of this new evolution is
the idea of transparency,” explains Darrell
Kinsley, Hot topic’s vice president of visual
and store design.
interactivity is inherent within the space.
shoppers can listen to online music or
access Hot topic’s own music resource
shockHound. there are stations where
shoppers can “co-create” micro-manufac-
tured tunes and design their own t-shirts.
The store environment itself can be modi-
fied to accommodate live music perfor-
mances in the space; all fixtures, including
the cashwrap cabinets, are on casters to be
readily relocated so the entire store can be
transformed into a live music venue.
between shows, elements contribute to
a performance area vibe but still function
in the shopping environment, including
the ceiling metal grid, the stage flooring
with embedded lEDs, theatrical lights,
cameras, and a back-area “green room” that
also functions as a portable fitting room or
tables, created by cRi, offer shoppers
the ability to digitally access content in the
store. The multi-touch computer interface
All fixtures are on casters so they
can be moved to accommodate
live music performances in the store.
34 | RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS march.2011