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Prospective study with Normall: for responsible retail stores

Prospective study with Normall: for responsible retail stores
Signing of the partnership with Noël Thorin, CEO of Normall and Christian Guellerin, director general of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique

A prospective study to launch the innovation process

French company Normall called upon L’École de design to help it rethink sustainable and accessible layouts thus facilitating the creation of responsible businesses.


Normall is a Lille-based company, specialized in accessibility and helping project developers and store managers to anticipate their compliance in order to keep costs down and let them turn these expenses into investments. As part of their development, Normall wanted to come up with ideas for new services and new values particularly in the fields of sustainable buildings, offices and stores.

To guide them through this process of accessible sustainable management, Normall entered into a partnership with the Sustainable Cities Design Lab at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique. The aim of this prospective study is to provide a vision of possible innovations, in the form of concepts and use scenarios that serve to define the sustainable business by taking into account several different types of retail store.

The project team, the students and the directors of Normall and L’École de design

A necessary collaboration for the company and for the students

From March to June 2016, the study was supervised by Emmanuel Alouche and Clémentine Laurent-Polz, respectively interior designer and architect. It gave 12 1st year Master’s students majoring in Mutations of the Built Environment the opportunity to work on four themes:
- Modular organization of sales points
- Design of a support service to help with aspects of sustainable development
- Optimization of storage and back office areas
- Concept elements towards a high-quality client reception in sales points

Thanks to this partnership, the students were able to find innovative solutions centered on responsible business practices but also had to deal with the realities on the ground. For them, it was the opportunity to be surrounded by professionals, to try and respond to existing challenges, to benefit from a rewarding experience and finally to develop their professional skills.
For the company, working with students from L’École de design was a real asset to the advancement of the project. The students’ ability to take ownership of and understand Normall’s needs and expectations allowed them to move forward quickly.

This type of partnership often strengthens companies or organizations in their development strategy and also provides bright prospects for the future thanks to the students’ new vision.