If you’ve been to the Two Oceans Aquarium lately you’ll have noticed a stunning new “display” near the exit... The Aquarium gift shop has received an amazing makeover and has turned into an experience all of its own.

Architecture firm Team Architects conceptualised, designed and managed the project for Tourvest Destination Retail, who has had the contract to run the gift shop at the Aquarium for nearly 16 years. The new design was “by and large inspired by the geometries and polished edges of a conch shell,” says Team Architects’ Thinus Venter. “It’s a reference to time and use shaping nature’s vessels.”

Click here to view Team Architects' initial conceptual proposal.

The redesign of the Aquarium gift shop was prompted by a number of things, says Tourvest Destination Retail’s Philippa Hancock. “The Two Oceans Aquarium’s own exciting developments, the refurbishment of the restaurant, and the reissue of our lease all were contributing factors. We were excited to re-energise the existing shop and to bring her up to date with what was happening in the rest of the Aquarium.”

There are wonderful details everywhere in the new gift shop

Phillipa says her favourite part of the new store is the starfish plush-toy display. “It’s just so clever and has such impact. I am sure the kids will love it!”

Apart from the look of the gift shop, other things have changed too. “We also wanted to inject freshness into the store with exciting new product developments,” says Philippa. “We want to support local manufacturers and suppliers and focus on offering Aquarium visitors a unique keepsake of their time spent at the Aquarium. We have a wonderful new range of T-shirts that is both educational and completely unique, featuring some of the Aquarium’s wonderful exhibits. We also looked at ways of supporting the Aquarium’s Green Your Footprint initiatives, and so we have included various options of reusable shoppers and re-usable bottles and mugs.” 

We love this thought-provoking “fish tank” inside the gift shop.

“Heading into the summer season, we will be supporting local CSI initiatives with interactive promotional activities,” Philippa says. “Our first initiative will start towards the end of September and will feature very talented local women who will create miniature works of art – ragged-tooth sharks, rockhopper penguins, turtles, clown- and tigerfish – from wire and beads: the perfect memento of an Aquarium visit.”

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