Bucharest Botanical Garden - Gift Shop - Raw Ideas
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A forgotten building gets a new life as a Gift Shop. A fairytale come true.

About the brand, in context: Bucharest Botanical Garden, this staple of Romania’s culture is carefully groomed and maintained with the help of this awesome organization called TeamWork. They felt the existing facilities in the garden weren’t doing it justice and more people had to see it. The one thing that was missing in our Botanical Garden was a gift shop and this gift shop would have a very important part to play in growing the garden’s popularity. It would have to draw people in, it would have to encourage higher numbers of visitors, and it would have to get people to be curious about nature. So curious they’d take  a little souvenir home, to remind them of the amazing time they had in the garden. So they started dreaming of this gift shop with terrariums and botanical illustrations and DIY planting kits, and…

The brief: …and so they called us. We immediately started dreaming with them and so the brief was born: they needed a child friendly space, which would not only entice them with trinkets, but which would also be a stepping stone to learning about nature. It had to be safe, friendly, interactive and on a very tight budget of both cash an time. but especially time. 

The challenge was the Botanical Garden is a protected environment. You can’t tamper with anything, you can’t really build anything inside so you have to make do with what you have, where you are, in the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt. That being said, the only space they were allowed to tamper with was a an abandoned little building on a side alley.

Logo design / Branded items / Interior design

The big idea

  • Make the whole Gift Shop feel like an enthusiastic gardener’s shed
  • Give them a friendly, easy-to-recognize identity, designed with school children in mind
  • Turn every big piece in the shop into an opportunity to learn about nature and interact with it

Why we did it like this

To be honest, we did it like this because we had the strongest ally right there with us. The big idea did not even come from us exclusively. It was the result of an enthusiastic brainstorming in situ, “back in the day” when it was still a purposeless ensemble of concrete. Both teams were exploring options – our own and the organization’s managing team.

Before we show any pictures, though, we’d like to take a moment to thank a few people who helped turn the gift shop into reality.

Anca – the owner/manager of the the store, for taking the time to check and re-check everything, for rolling up her sleeves and help with the hard work of putting the space together AND for cheering for everyone when we were beginning to lose hope.

Lucia – the interior architect, for the endless meetings and patience, for all the drawings and careful lists, and for rolling up her sleeves when the rest of the team was drawing

Silviu – Anca’s business partner, for endlessly queuing and always fixing the paperwork

Bogdan – architect, for the legal advice.  We’d still be muddling for a lot of papers if it hadn’t been for you.

Oh and by the way, you can read (in Romanian) the story of our interior design here.

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