Ryan is a Senior Associate at BRR and leads our team in Austin, Tex. In his 12 years with BRR, Ryan has worked with multiple retail clients on projects across the U.S. He distinguishes himself by working alongside our clients to gain additional perspective to brand initiatives, how they’ll be implemented, and their anticipated impact to the built environment. Ryan also leads our Retail Innovation team, which focuses on tracking trends within and outside the retail industry, and using that information to benefit our clients and their building programs.
We sat down with Ryan to get his thoughts on retail design, what it’s like to be a retail architect, and where he sees the industry going.
BRR: What do you enjoy most about being a retail architect?
Ryan: The constant evolution of the retail industry. Retailers – and retail design – are constantly progressing, and designers are always looking for ways to forecast trends. Everyone is a consumer at some level, and new market influences can come from many factors. As an architect, I have the opportunity to influence the retail environment for today’s generation, and the evolving market of future generations.
How does it feel to be part of design:retail’s ‘40 Under 40’ class this year?
It’s an honor to be selected as part of the 2017 class. The 40 individuals have a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, specialties and skillsets, and it’s a representation of the up-and-coming talent that will continue to drive the growth of retail.
What keeps you excited about the retail industry and how it impacts the built environment?
As all architects and designers know, this profession is one where you never stop learning. One of the things I enjoy learning about is the data that comes back from retailers – whether it’s based around a new design concept, or how we can advance design perspective to improve internal operational procedures. I’ve worked with Nike since 2012, and quickly learned about the 11 “maxims” that define Nike’s core philosophy. One of the maxims is ‘Evolve Immediately’, and there isn’t anything more appropriate to be said for the retail industry.
What do you see as the next big disruptor in retail design?
There is a lot of news in the retail sector regarding the future of brick and mortar retail – so much so that it’s become cliché. Retail is going through a market correction and it’s become extremely dense, particularly in the U.S. In my opinion, retailers who can differentiate themselves as being a destination and provide an outstanding consumer experience will be the most successful.
What advice would you give to students thinking about working in retail architecture?
What most people don’t realize is that there is a real conflict between the appetite for retailers to implement the latest trends into the market, and the actual time it takes to execute that. Developing an initial concept to respond to changing trends takes time, and once that has been piloted and proven, it may take six to 18 months (or more) to roll out into the market. My recommendation to current students would be to start looking at ways we can expedite the process from concept to execution.
Where would you like to see the industry go next?
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a pretty big tech nerd, so I’d like to see the retail scene from “Minority Report” become a reality. But I’m not 100 percent certain our society is ready for that. Instead, I’m most intrigued by how augmented reality can revolutionize the design process for the clients we work with. This innovation will make it possible to convey design in a subversive environment much better than 2D drawings or 3D walkthroughs can on a 2-dimensional screen.
The full ’40 Under 40′ listing can be viewed here. Congratulations, Ryan!