Architecture / Creative Direction / 3D Brand Experience / Project Management

ALTA-NYC is the online design presence of NATAL[ie/Y] C, a Registered Architect in New York State. Natalie S. W. Cheng holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Architecture from Yale University.

Contact:    Linkedin / WNW  / Residential Design / Blog

Responding to the evolution of physical, digital + mobile commerce, Natalie collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams to create high-impact and digitally immersive 3D brand solutions for all exhibition, campaign + retail needs. With over 15 years’ experience guiding high profile branded installations from concept to execution, Natalie is adept at mobilizing global teams, and skilled at managing complex operations within a large network of stakeholders, technologists and partner agencies.

3D Brand Design x Digital Transformation:  3 Collaborative Formats

Based in New York City, global design + consulting services are provided in 3 distinct formats: 

1. Direct Project Commissions
2. Consulting for In-House Brand Groups
3. Consulting for Global Design + Advertising Agencies

In partnership with Brand Marketers, Creatives, Technologists and C-Suite Leadership, projects include brand relaunch and repositioning initiatives, freestanding stores, retail concessions, bespoke fixtures, pop-ups, exhibits, launches and events. For ambitious large scale projects, a longstanding network of collaborators, technicians and fabricators can be leveraged to customize a co-ordinated team for high quality project execution and rapid turnaround.

From 2007-2013, Natalie led the store design & project management for Estée Lauder, (Jo Malone, La Mer), L'Oréal Luxe (Giorgio Armani, YSL Beauté), and Alexander Wang, overseeing rapid global expansion. An Independent Consultant since 2013, she has contributed to high profile brand initiatives for Amorepacific, Chanel, L'Oréal, J.Crew & Madewell. In addition to direct commissions + in-house partnerships, she also consults for Agencies. Past projects (2017-2021) includes work for HUGE INC. (SK-II), SCHOOLHOUSE (La Mer x Mario Sorrenti), AKQA (Nike),  ZOO (Unilever Prestige), MILK, and MATTE.

Collaborative Process, Design Methodology + Philosophy

Equipped with an organizational behind the scenes knowledge of how global beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands operate, Natalie can successfully address the challenges and milestones that need to be met in order to sustain innovation + growth in a rapidly evolving and competitive marketplace.

At the beginning of each new project, Natalie works with the Client / Stakeholders to define business goals and how to communicate the Brand's core values in both tangible and emotional ways. As a result, each Brand's DNA is clearly expressed across all channels for optimal engagement. A hands-on Designer + Project Manager, she is known to roll up her sleeves to provide innovative + technical 3D solutions.

Concepts are ideated and developed with speed and precision, while allowing adequate time to test, evaluate and improve prototypes based on Client feedback. Interactive 3D environments are designed with flexible infrastructure to accommodate curated events, live-streaming, AR/ VR, mobile shopping, customized apps, social media and pop-culture exchange. Design, budget & timing are rigorously considered at every project phase.

Design Process Overview

While there is no one size fits all scenario, the diagram below guides the collaborative design process in the new digital + physical, or “clicks + mortar” brand environment.

The Role of Physical Brand Spaces + 3D Experiences in a Digital World

The Pandemic is accelerating consumer shifts towards digital brand experience, e-commerce, and mobile commerce at an unprecedented rate. While bricks and mortar retail will not become obsolete, there are opportunities in the coming decade to re-imagine the role of temporary and permanent  brand spaces, while recalibrating a brand’s existing real estate footprint.

Enabled by technology, retail innovation occurs when online and offline worlds overlap seamlessly to capture the broadest possible demographic. Within the world of ‘clicks + mortar retail’, physical brand spaces are where in-person shopping and purchases occur, while also serving as backup regional return and fulfillment centers. Additionally, 3D Brand spaces have these additional functions in a digital world:

1. A digitally enabled physical space to express the singular brand voice in 4D, free of competitive clutter
2. A multi-dimensional, sensorial environment allowing visitors to discover & interact with products & services

3. A hyperlocal forum  to promote a sense of community amongst influencers & loyalists; attracting new customers
4. Inspirational escapism through live events, reinforcing brand relationships while improving conversions

5. An immersive backdrop for brand storytelling, and for generating digital impressions via social media + press

6. A bespoke journey using AI, algorithims & tracking; navigating privacy, insights are gained via data analytics