Market needs don’t always sync with sustainability goals. For a space to be built green, so the thinking goes,
it should last. LEED even gives a project a
point for a 10-year lease (hoping there won’t
be a major reno during the decade). That’s
because long-term buildouts conserve
resources, reduce waste, and minimize construction impacts.
But as consumers have grown more fickle
and become experience junkies, retailers
have steadily decreased the time between
renovations. In fact, many eliminate it altogether by designing flexible spaces that
enable constant flux. And then there are
the spaces that make no apology for their
transience—pop-ups enable concept testing,
expansion testing, product launch promotion, and marketing message reinforcement.
So their growing popularity comes as no
Despite their short-term leases, even
the most temporary retail spaces can be
eco-minded. Participants in A.R.E.’s Retail
Environments Network LinkedIn group
recently provided these six ideas for greening a pop-up:
1 MINIMIZE FIXTURING.
“Too often, even in permanent installations,
brands rely too heavily on overwrought fix-
tures to somehow connect brand (product)
and guest (consumer),” says Chris Weigand,
president of Peninsula, Ohio-based Chris
Weigand Design. “Let the product be the hero.
After all, it’s what is great about your brand.
More often than not, you spent a lot of money
on the packaging design. Let that sing.”
Managing the carbon footprint starts with
reducing usage, notes Jeffrey Baker, CEO of
Boston-based popup producer Image 4. “So
to green a pop-up, or anything for that mat-
ter, start by reducing the material use, espe-
cially weight. Weight means costly fuel for
transport,” he says.
2 DESIGN FOR MOBILIT Y.
“Think traveling road show. Aim to get in
and out quickly so you can set up shop in the
next town over, so to speak,” says Weigand.
He suggests modular designs so they can be
easily reconfigured for various spaces.
Bruce Smith, director of retail services at
McIntyre Group Installation Services in Ayr,
Ontario, recommends fixtures that are easy to
transport and easy to update. McIntyre offers
Swiftspace cashwraps and smaller access
point stations. “They can be collapsed in sec-
onds and moved from one space to another.
When dated or damaged, surfaces and graph-
ics can easily be changed in order to keep
them current and in good shape,” he says.
Image 4 account manager Rebecca Fitts
suggests a demountable modular walling
system that allows for easy setup and dis-
assembly for multiple uses in different con-
Green Today, Gone Tomorrow:
Making Pop-up Stores Sustainable
green notes By Jo Rossman, LEED AP ID+C, GPAP
As Major League Baseball fans eagerly snatched up branded apparel at The Majestic Shop
during a FanFest gift show, the booth could be reconfigured on the fly. Even merchandised
fixtures moved easily on casters. Made by OP TO International, the fixture package included
some units designed to be constructed and disassembled without the use of tools.