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Designing bricks-and-mortar retail in the digital age: Hecker Guthrie’s showroom for Schiavello

Retail is in a state of flux. Schiavello’s Melbourne showroom, designed by Hecker Guthrie, brings a biophilic response with an architectural sensibility. We take a step inside the 2018 INDE.Awards shortlisted project.

Having just thrown open the doors on their new retail showroom in Melbourne, Schiavello embarks on a very exciting – and very promising – new chapter. Designed in collaboration with Hecker Guthrie, the new space is an exemplary case study in Australia’s unique approach to designing bricks-and-mortar retail destinations in the digital age.

“We sought to bring an architectural sensibility to the interior of the new Schiavello retail showroom,” says the dynamic design duo behind Hecker Guthrie, “enhancing and augmenting the existing space with a play of different shapes and forms to draw attention to its contemporary context.”

And the result is an astounding feat of sensory overload: spaces tease and unfurl throughout the showroom; natural golden light floods in from the Melbourne cityscape; rooms subdivide into more intimate rooms, bringing a crowning point to the playfulness and childlike wonderment that so characterises Hecker Guthrie’s portfolio.

From seating to shelving and tables, Schiavello‘s residential offerings are on par with its commercial and contract lines, bringing the world-class style, functionality, and innovation that designers already know and love into the contemporary Australian home. For the new showroom, it was only natural that such design excellence be met with further excellence in Hecker Guthrie’s inimitable approach.


“We recognised two streams within the Schiavello brand: the corporate side for which the brand is best known, and the hospitality and domestic sides in which they’re becoming increasingly influential. As a result, the showroom location is separated into streams for ease of use – thus carefully curating spaces to ensure easy navigation for customers throughout.” – Hecker Guthrie.


Schiavello Melbourne showroom

Understanding that the core values of the Schiavello brand touch an important emotional note for the Australian public, Hecker Guthrie sought to build a unique competitive advantage in an otherwise oversaturated and highly disruptive landscape of consumer-driven design. While the future of bricks-and-mortar retail for the consumer space continues to look forward to an uncertain future, this showroom proves that intelligent design thinking can generate elite customer experiences.

As the new frontier of competitive differentiation, it’s this emotional connection to the brand story that draws one in to enjoy the physical experience of being part of the action.


“We sought to bring an architectural sensibility to the interior of the new Schiavello retail showroom, enhancing and augmenting the existing space with a play of different shapes nd forms to draw attention to its contemporary context.” – Hecker Guthrie.


At the heart of the action, a kitchen anchors the showroom firmly in the Schiavello culture, of which coffee-making is an integral part. White marble bench tops contrast against natural timber joinery and floors, while suspended pendant lighting accentuates the height of the space. Nodding to the ongoing importance of biophilia as a design directive, greenery is generously punctuated across the floorplate – providing a vital counterpoint to the neutrally tonal scheme throughout.

From Melbourne to the rest of Australia and throughout Asia, and now in Dubai and Beijing, Schiavello is an enduring champion of Australian-made design.

The showroom’s emphasis on natural light and open plan living is attuned to the direction in which residential design appears to be headed: bright, airy interiors in which spaces melt into one another. And the memory? It’s the discrete charm of creative, thoughtful design. Design, that is, to articulate the future.

Photography courtest Schiavello.

The Schiavello showroom by Hecker Guthrie was shortlisted in The Shopping Space category of the 2018 INDE.Awards. We’re currently searching across the region for the best in retail design – enter the 2019 INDE.Awards now


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