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Minimalist retail by Adam Kane Architects

Adam Kane Architects brings its signature minimalist aesthetics to a retail environment, creating an elegant space for brides to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Shopping for a wedding dress is (most often) a once in a lifetime experience. Wanting to create a completely unique retail showroom, bridal company Mariana Hardwick brought in the help of Adam Kane Architects to design a new retail offering. The luxury bridal brand moved from a historic building in Brunswick to an old Victorian hotel in South Melbourne but saw the move as an opportunity for reinvigoration.

As Adam Kane, principal and founder of Adam Kane Architects, shares: “The brief for the new Mariana Hardwick boutique was to create a showroom that was contemporary, something that strengthened the brand and warranted the move away from its former Brunswick base. The design also needed to reflect the brand’s future by being modern and refined.”

For the new bridal shop, Adam Kane Architects took inspiration from European luxury boutiques and the monolithic feeling of visiting a museum. This took the form of a pared-back palette featuring grey-toned natural stone, concrete and lots of white. Explaining the thinking behind this concept, Kane says, “The material palette concept was about ‘layers of white’, taking inspiration from the layering of white textures and fabrics in the Mariana Hardwick gowns.

“We wanted the space to provide a backdrop to the dresses, while also emphasising each gown. Each ‘white’ finish was chosen for it’s different textural and material quality. White polished plaster was used to create reflection and light, white linen curtains for their softness and femininity, white concrete for its sharpness and industrial edge and white marble for its opulence.”

An immediate feature of the space is the large circular fitting room. A central feature, the fitting room has been placed front and centre – setting the stage for a heightened experience and draped in linen from floor to ceiling. Part of creating an experience is what sets this modern retail offering apart. “I think in today’s age the design of a retail space needs to challenge traditional layouts. The design should further reflect and embody the brand that it represents. Each space needs to be as crafted and well designed as the products that it showcases. The space needs to be multisensory, and incorporate all elements such as light, atmosphere and scent,” says Kane.

Beyond the immediate sensory response, Kane believes that innovative retail can even improve processes and management. Another consideration in the modern-age is, of course, the ever-present veil of social media. Kane explains, “It’s important to consider the power of social media in promoting a store. Retail spaces now need to attract interest online, and to do this the space itself must embody the brand and successfully showcase the product.”

Adding depth to this thinking, the Mariana Hardwick boutique includes a courtyard space. This formed part of the client brief and doubles as a function space, while also giving brides a fresh backdrop to document their experience. “The greenery from outside and the black steel details inside provided contrast and juxtaposition to the all-white interior,” says Kane.

Successfully minimalist in its execution, the Mariana Hardwick boutique effectively achieves what Adam Kane Architects set out to do: “We wanted to create a store where the products showcased are treated like artefacts in a museum.”

Photography by Tom Blachford.

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