Imagine owning an agency, that specialised in residential architecture and interior, and seeing a growing demand for homelike designed retail properties. Who would not use their years of experience to be a breath of fresh air in retail architecture and design?

This is exactly what CSAR did, using their extensive residential design experience to create new and refreshing concepts for retail properties. “We come up with new styles and ideas,” says Thijs de Ruiter, owner of CSAR. “We provide the necessary refreshment and are not afraid of letting go of retail concepts.” CSAR was founded in 2003 and stands for ‘Creative Studio Architecture and Realisation’. It is an architectural firm that specialises in construction and renovation projects on the private market. In addition to architectural design, CSAR focuses on interior design and designs closets, stairways and other types of furniture. Their designs are powerful and functional and have refined details. CSAR also developed ‘de Bouwbundel’ (the building bundle), to clarify the private construction processes; it offers a clear picture of the realisation of the project. With a strong team and a steady Network of professionals, CSAR can take care of the whole project.

Showing the potential

De Ruiter: “Our biggest strength is reallocating buildings. We are located in Amsterdam, and especially in a city like this, we have to be very creative with the limited space we have. We are able to transform a seemingly hopeless property into the house of your dreams.” A great example for an exceptional transformation is the old stairwell of a former office. CSAR made it into a luxurious fivebedroom home. A while ago De Ruiter appeared on the Dutch television show Huizenjacht (House Hunting) to advise people on how to create their dream house within a budget. De Ruiter: “I also wanted to show the viewers the potential in seemingly hopeless locations and properties. We see what others cannot see or do not know, and therefore we are able to show a surprising and novel concept.” According to De Ruiter, the best moment to get in a project is right after the housing or retail wishes arise. This means even  for a property has been bought. Not only to give a realistic vision of the possibilities within budget and laws, but also for the creative process. De Ruiter: “Of course it is very important to get to know the client. For example, people have daily routines, and our designs can simplify things or make them more comfortable, without forcing changes in daily routines. The more knowledge we have about the client, the more satisfying the end result will be.” After they get to know the wishes and demands, CSAR creates 3D-sketches to optimise visualisation for the client. During the entire project, contact with the client is very important. De Ruiter: “Things change during the process, wishes change and problems arise. We are the ones who must lead those elements in the right direction. Regular contact with everyone who is involved in the process is crucial.”

Homelike retail design

Ever since the recession, people are looking for hominess and sociability. This also appears in the demand for retail design and décor. De Ruiter: “Pure and high quality materials and attention for detail are more important than ever. Nowadays people want a homelike design at stores. Shopping is becoming more and more an experience, rather than a necessary activity.” This demand for homelike retail design obviously fits perfectly with the experience CSAR has gained over the last 12 years. They are able to provide creative solutions for any kind of object or project, and are a growing force in retail design. With this innovative view CSAR breaks through a situation and is able to transform a property in a surprising way. In all their designs CSAR reuses materials and components, so there are always elements of the history present in the designs. CSAR’s great experience in residential architecture and interior and the rapidly changing demands within retail design, makes them the best solution for any design request. De Ruiter: “The changing demands on the retail market and our experience, created the most logical next step for us. We are flexible and not holding on to old retail concepts. We think out of the box on multiple levels. What is impossible for another person is for us the greatest creative puzzle.”

Text: Berthe Van Den Hurk| Photos: CSAR

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