Considerations for curating local creative elements in the design of global branded spaces

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Global brands typically produce replicable spaces in standardised formats which are rolled out across the globe. As global consumer consciousness of the social and environmental impacts of mass production grows, there is a shift in value for unique and ethically produced branded spaces. Consumers are favouring once-off spatial experiences over cookie-cutter expressions of a brand. Global brands, (for example, Starbucks), have recognised that incorporating local features in their spaces provides consumers an experiential highlight. These spaces are a varied interpretation of a brand’s identity and signify a rethink of branded spaces towards a localised identity that is indicative of both brand and place. By reflecting local identity, branded spaces are demonstrating that they are responsive to the time and place in which a store is located and expressing local sensitivity.

This local identity can be accomplished through curating locally produced interior elements (for example furniture, materials, artworks, and lighting) into the branded space. Not only does this bring a local atmosphere to branded spaces, but it is also a way stimulate local creative sectors threatened by the impacts of ongoing economic instability. This can support and promote local creatives through the spatial platform of the global brand. This can have wider benefits for independent creatives who may be commissioned to develop their work and be discovered on the global stage of the branded space (for example, the Nando’sYoung Hot Designer competition).

However, the conventional production of commercial interiors is dependent on rapid construction. Current procurement processes support a mass-productive-consumptive cycle of tried and tested interior products that meet the design and performance requirements of global brands. Local, one-of-a-kind interior elements require slower and experimental processes of design to manufacturing. Managing the introduction of local elements while maintaining a consistent global brand identity is a further challenge. There is an absence of theoretical knowledge on considerations for local curation for branded spaces. This can hinder the practice of local curation and necessitates research development in this area. Through qualitative constructivist grounded theory research, the study involved eighteen interviews with global designers experienced in localised branded design and the artefactual analysis of twenty global branded spaces.

The study found the following considerations for curating local creative elements for branded interiors.
1. Curation is dependent on defining brand consistent features and ensuring curated
elements are locally authentic (in manufacturing, authorship, and composition).
2. Curation can be expressed through a) locally created functional objects in the branded space, b) the introduction of exhibited local artefacts as an adjacent spatial programme, and c) the emphasis of local curation over the branded spatial purpose of the programme.
3. Curation raises the need for new models of procurement. This includes building in processes for prototyping, measuring performance and quality, and managing scalability.
4. Curation necessitates socially responsible engagement with local partners. This is in collaboration methods with partners, compensation, and managing intellectual property.

This study has implications on the theory and practice of commercial interior design management, commercial interior design processes, design ethics, and brand management.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2023
Event5th International Colloquium on Design, Branding and Marketing: The Future Priorities for Design, Branding and Marketing: The Era of Technology and Sustainability - University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Dec 20237 Dec 2023
Conference number: 5


Conference5th International Colloquium on Design, Branding and Marketing
Abbreviated titleICDBM 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Dr Zakkiya Khan was awarded "Best Abstract" for their submission to the colloquium.


  • branded interior design
  • curation
  • commercial interior design
  • interior design process
  • design ethics
  • Design management


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