AIA Foresight Report
Illustration: Lauren Nassef | Art Direction: Jelena Schulz

Few market sectors have seen more technological and cultural changes than retail, which is redefining itself to remain relevant. The evolving retail model seems to be based in fusion. The exchange of goods and services is morphing and combining with other types of interactions, technologies, and categories. Concurrent with these shifts in the retail model, retailers, developers, architects, and designers are trying to define the role that the physical environment plays in this new shopping paradigm.

Tech | Traditional Retail

Amazon opened its first bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle. The 5,000 volumes it stocks are based on online sales data and the retail location will likely feed that information into the company’s online strategy.


Macy’s and IBM Watson have teamed up (through developer Satisfi) to create Macy’s on Call, an AI-powered mobile shopping assistant that allows shoppers to use natural language to find where specific products, departments, and brands are located, as well as learn what services and facilities can be found in a given store.

Tech | Culture

The Samsung 837 Store on Washington Street in New York City carries no inventory but attracts customers through a combination of ultra-hip events and features such as a gourmet coffeehouse and café, live streams of product announcements, and a viewing party for the Oscars.


Westfield Corp., the $27.7 billion global shopping behemoth, has created Westfield Labs in order to redefine the complete shopping experience from planning the trip to parking, dining, and receiving goods purchased. Westfield’s plan is to reinvent its 35-plus shopping centers throughout the world.

Read about the retail sector and more in the AIA Foresight Report 2017 at