Set foot inside any one of Aussie brand Assembly Label’s stores and you’ll notice one thing: there’s a complete and utter lack of fuss. It’s that modern effortlessness you want your own place to emulate and suddenly dousing your walls in white paint, sanding back your bookshelves and lovingly investing in a family of pot plants seems like a fabulous weekend project.
It takes a good eye to mould a retail space this cool, and here that eye belongs to the label’s creative director, Damien Horan. Come with us as we take a look around the brand’s Fitzroy and Armadale stores, captured by photographer Terence Chin, and find out what it took to bring them to life.
When you were coming up with an idea for the space, what inspiration did you use?
The underlying values of Modernism have an influence on our store concepts. Relentless simplicity and a ‘less is more’ approach is consistent and true to the Assembly Label brand.
We also look at a lot of modern interiors to create a relatable ‘homely feel’ throughout the space. These influences, combined with a design that works harmoniously with the existing architectural space, are at the forefront of our minds.
Do the stores’ locations influence how they’re fitted out?
Absolutely. Our underlying design values are constant, however our thought process for each store takes into consideration the surrounds. For many who call it home, Bondi encapsulates the classic laid-back Australian beach lifestyle. We wanted to evoke those feelings throughout the space with its light and airy atmosphere and coastal hues.
What’s the best retail space you’ve ever been in?
I admire stores that are highly considered by design, they are purpose-built with the customer in mind, comfortable to shop in and leave you with a compelling experience that inspires you to return. Alchemy Works in Downtown Los Angeles is one that springs to mind.
What’s worth spending on, and what’s worth saving on, when designing a space?
Consider the existing space and the amount of amendments involved to achieve your end goal. If you can find a building with a workable character and infrastructure, you’ll save a lot in the long run. With any business you have to consider costs, and everything is worth saving on where possible. It’s a balance. You always have to consider the customer and the level of quality they deserve.
What was the biggest challenge you faced fitting out the stores?
I’d say time; retail stores require a lengthy process of ‘back and forths’, approvals and intense work on an around-the-clock basis. It takes a high level of commitment and consideration to ensure the store is of a high standard upon opening.
Top 3 tips to create a cohesive space?
- – Ensure the design reflects the environment
- – Conceptualize and consider how each aspect of the design works harmoniously with another
- – Keep it simple and avoid over-complicating things