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I spy with my little eye – Henderson Optical

It’s bright and red and makes a statement – whether you have your glasses on or off you won’t miss it. Henderson Optical is a singular project for a prominent brand and makes its presence felt in a sea of retail.

I spy with my little eye – Henderson Optical

The latest project from ON Architects is making waves and in all the right directions. Optical firm, Henderson has a new retail establishment in The Strand, Melbourne and not only are the products a stand out but the design of the store is definitely an eye catcher.

Founder of ON Architects, Andy Chung, has conceived an experiential journey for patrons seeking high quality eyewear that begins on the outside and culminates within. The new store of 322 square metres was originally four separate premises.

Each presented with a different layout and floor size and the challenge was to ensure that there was spatial flow to the interior, a correct layout for the product and an experience for the customer.

Henderson Optical

Through the use of materials, colour and geometric motif the site is now a homogenous whole and presents the product to its best advantage. Materiality was inspired by glasses frames, with metal, timber and resin in different finishes incorporated throughout the store.

The outside facade is clad in Austral bricks, laid in an undulating convex/concave design to lead the shopper to the entrance. Using translucent, transparent and white bricks, the pattern has been designed to represent abstracted pixels and provides an optical feast for the eye.

To ensure the pattern was correct, a template of individual timber sized bricks was laid out by Chung, re-worked with his bricklayers, and then positioned in situ to the specifications. Bold red graphics denote the brand and frame the brick wall, while lighting has been designed to reflect the texture and form of the facade – a statement indeed.

Related: Cinematic retail fit-outs by Child Studio

Henderson Optical

The reception desk, in blood red, with a polished aluminium plinth takes centre stage from the entrance portico and, surrounded by geometric shapes, it is both dramatic and inviting. The geometric shapes of spectacle frames, linear lines with gentle curves, mimic the arms and frames of glasses and are clearly visible in the floor and ceiling treatments.

A white walkway bordered by red leads customers through the store, from end to end, and the custom walnut shelving showcases product and provides storage. Four occasional tables and two large service tables with walnut bases and stone tops and easy chairs ensure that there are places for people to sit and rest while deciding on their purchases.

This was a challenging project for Chung, the site was difficult, elongated with larger areas at either end, however he has accomplished a resolved design, that becomes a stand-out in a sea of retail in this shopping precinct.

Henderson Optical

As a sole practitioner and founder of ON Architects, Andy Chung has, over the years, created projects that test his creativity and push the boundaries.

Chung was a student of architecture at Deakin University and then continued his studies on a scholarship to Nottingham University in the UK. Subsequently, he returned to Australia and completed his degree at RMIT. He worked at Architectus for three years and then collaborated with a colleague to deliver an 80,000-square metre commercial project in Zhengzhou China. After this, he decided to strike out on his own, establishing his practice in 2013.

Chung primarily designs residential and large commercial projects, however, the brief for Henderson Optics was a labour of love and a chance to delve into the realms of retail design. He brings to the project the same idea of placemaking that is inherent in all his commissions, and while every project is required to be functional, his innovation and instinct are the impetus for each design.

Henderson Optical

While function and form are the yin and yang of architecture, Chung has brought so much more to this latest project. There is a sense of occasion, drama and a presence that not only reflects the brand but presents a new shopping experience for customers.

ON Architects

Dianna Snape

Henderson Optical
Andy Chung of ON Architects.

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