This tiny retail tenancy fit-out at Melbourne Central is the fourth chapter of the Lulamae and Breathe Architecture collaboration story. After a successful cardboard pop-up store in 2009, a more permanent installation takes form at ‘The Corner’ precinct at Level 2 of Melbourne Central.
The project presents itself as a live theatre set – assembling front and down stage elements to generate a context and atmosphere for the customer experience. Drawing upon the boutique’s namesake, Capote’s classic heroine in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: a country girl who reinvents herself in the big city; the fit-out reflects this iconic and theatrical narrative of reinvention, play and ‘façade’. The material palette is rich and evocative, with a combination of pixelated imagery digitally printed on plywood and canvas, red velvet curtains, rope and mild steel detailing, collated to represent ‘stage front’ or proscenium view, tree flats and backdrop. The structure to the scenery flats and windows are raw, exposed and visible from inside.
The ceiling and walls have been blacked out with paint made from recycled engine oil in lieu of a suspended ceiling, while the floor is given texture and authenticity with recycled, wax finished Tasoak floorboards. Australian plantation ply joinery, mild steel detailing and energy efficient lighting infill and colour the space to create evocative and engaging retail experience. Shifting the shopper’s role from audience to performer: they enter and step onto the stage, passing a backdrop of velvet curtains, mannequins at stage left and right, and picturesque countryside in the distance. Now in the spotlight and behind the scenes, they can’t help but be connected to a sense of nostalgia and escape.
The material palette is rich and purposely evocative. As a typology that thrives on the excitement and agility of the temporal and fleeting, the commercial installation was approached as such – a set of props and scenery, assembled for the current showing. Material and fitting selections privileged performance and inherent qualities over typically energy consumptive and VOC laden palettes of aluminum, chrome and highly finished, applied surfaces. Employing a backdrop of pixelated imagery digitally printed on plywood and canvas, distinguishable at relative distances, the set is enclosed with red velvet curtains, rope tie downs and mild steel detailing.
Installed as a stage set, complete with proscenium arch, tree flats and backdrop – the structure is raw, exposed and unashamedly visible from within. The ceiling and walls have been blacked out with paint made from recycled engine oil in lieu of a suspended ceiling, while the floor is given texture and authenticity with recycled, wax finished recycled Tasoak floorboards. Australian plantation ply joinery, mild steel detailing and energy efficient lighting infill and colour the space to create evocative and engaging retail experience.Location: Melbourne Central, Australia Architect: Breathe Architecture Project design team: Jeremy McLeod – Design Director, Eugenia Tan – Project Architect Project name: Lulamae Boutique