Home' Commercial : WAs Best Commercial Designs 2011 Contents 60 WA’s Best Commercial Designs 2011
she says. And with the loosening of liquor licensing around the Perth region,
the hospitality scene is already welcoming a bevy of much smaller, boutique
hospitality spaces, creating the opportunity for fresh fitouts in 2011.
BRAVE NEW RETAIL WORLD
Retail fitouts are highly experiential spaces, ephemeral and transformative in
nature, stimulating and elevating at best – an ongoing experiment for the
designer, and an almost fairytale encounter for the customer.
In recent years, we’ve seen major social and cultural influences affect the
global zeitgeist – the push for sustainability, balanced by the rapid progression
of technology. The move towards a futuristic-style existence, juxtaposed by
our retreat from static, staid environments. But more than anything, we’ve
experienced a push towards highly engaging encounters, meaningful interactions
and memorable exchanges that give us a new connection and relationship
with the individuals and brands around us.
In particular, this has been played out within the realm of retail, where a
brand and product takes on personality and life through three-dimensional
spaces. Bringing this all back to the ‘human factor’ is the important thing,
with interactive monitors incorporated into the fitout. Like a recognition
device, a camera may film a customer from various angles, so they can study
themselves in their glasses frames.
From high technology to the sustainable, a strong sense of simplicity and
sympathy for one’s surrounds is emerging. Hair, skin and body company
Aesop is slowly but surely taking the world by storm with this approach. The
latest store in Rue Saint-Honoré, in the heart of Paris, saw Rodney Eggleston
from Melbourne’s March Studio explore materials with Aesop founder Dennis
Paphitis that distil the essence of Paris. “We began by looking at the possibilities
of plaster, but became intrigued by the parquetry floors one sees throughout
Paris,” he says. This led him to explore the notion of “inhabiting the space with
one material, used in one encompassing way”, he adds. “We envisaged using
cut wood in such a fashion that it covered the floor, walls and ceiling, lending a
cohesive texture and warmth to the room.” The outcome sees 3500 hand-cut,
hand-sanded pieces of wood, articulated in a meticulously cantilevered fashion.
RETAIL MOVES | Perth’s evolving cityscape
William Street in Northbridge is becoming a popular community hub. The William Street Collective, consisting of shops, cafes and more, injects a
collaborative, festival feel into the area (visit www.onwilliam.com.au for details) • The recent completion of 140 William Street, Perth, by Hassell, has
breathed new life into this landmark site, while also paying homage to its roots. The retail area, within the streetscape, capitalises on foot traffic between
the underground station and nearby mall • WA was well represented in 2010’s Australian Institute of Architects Awards with architects Hames Sharley
receiving a State Award for its Enex 100 project. This CBD complex encompasses the restoration of the 1908 Sandover building facade and the integration
of a contemporary development, transforming the under-used building into a retail hotspot, now integral to Hay Street Mall’s flourishing retail trade.
The future is an ever-looming phenomenon, a realm that seems to be
recreated in an alien-like fashion, channelling notions of space and parallel
worlds. The seamless monotone spaces of Japanese design studio Nendo’s retail
fitout for the 24 Issey Miyake shop in Shibuya’s Parco shopping complex, in
Tokyo, conjures a mixture of displacement and fascination with spiked display
stands sprouting from the floor. This has a surprisingly striking effect on the
stock itself, which becomes the life and colour within the fitout.
Of its approach, Nendo says: “The brief consisted only of what they would
sell at the shop” – Miyake’s new Bilbao bag. The bag has no set form, settling
depending on how it is placed. “To match the bag, we abandoned standard hard,
flat and smooth fixtures, and created a set of variable-height fixtures made of
thin steel rods [which have] a similar vague, undefined shape like the bag.”
From the otherworldly within established spaces, to the ephemeral and
makeshift, pop-up shops have taken the retail industry to new levels. It’s a
matter of branding, a new way of marketing and a new forum for engaging
with the customer, says Kate Hannaford of Moth Design. Moth Design is the
producer of Penthouse Mouse, an annual pop-up retail and art space, which
appears for a short period each April in a deserted building in Melbourne
According to Hannaford, pop-ups allow the designer, retailer and fashion
maker to do things that would never usually work in the usual retail fitout.
While Penthouse Mouse takes over deserted buildings, there are other
pop-ups that grow within a space. The Coop, by Matt Gibson Architecture
+ Design, is a good example, located within a disused access corridor of a
shopping centre. Part experimental installation, part retail tenancy, the
inner core of the fitout is low tech and offers a refreshing contradiction
to the surrounding stores. The beauty of these spaces is their anti-retail
aesthetic, allowing a label or brand to do something unusual, but still on
brand. Plus, it’s an activity that continues to bring us renewed engagement
and mind-blowing experiences.
ABOVE The Coop, in a shopping centre access corridor in Melbourne is part experimental installation,
part retail tenancy. TOP LEFT Penthouse Mouse, a retail and art space that pops up annually in disused
buildings in Melbourne. TOP RIGHT The interior of the Aesop store in Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris was
designed with wooden floors, walls and ceilings to pay homage to the parquetry floors of Paris.
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