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Libertine Parfumerie designed by Tamsin Johnson melds French Deco with an aristocratic aesthetic

Libertine Parfumerie’s flagship store in Sydney, crafted by local interior designer Tamsin Johnson, stands as a testament to a 15-year dream realised.

Libertine Parfumerie designed by Tamsin Johnson melds French Deco with an aristocratic aesthetic

Located on Oxford Street in Paddington, Libertine Parfumerie is a contemporary, antipodean interpretation of a classical continental pharmacy, overlayed with feminine hues and antiquities sourced from Europe. While avoiding a pastiche was imperative to the design, the boutique offers a sophisticated environment for patrons to explore a curated collection of world-renowned fragrances.

Libertine Parfumerie founder, Nick Smart, operates the Sydney boutique as the retail face of his wholesale business, Agence de Parfum. Having admired Tamsin Johnson’s portfolio of projects and signature collected style, Smart reached out and asked Johnson to reimagine the 200-square-metre space into a parfumerie that exudes a sense of refined elegance.

Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie

“Establishing a flagship in Sydney is a momentous occasion for Libertine Parfumerie. It stands as a timestamp of our journey so far and Tamsin was the perfect design partner to ensure Libertine Parfumerie makes its mark among like-minded, luxurious labels in Paddington. We wanted to create a space that hasn’t been seen in Australian beauty retail,” says Smart. “[Tamsin’s] natural ability to snapshot contemporary Australian style and combine that aesthetic with a layer of European elegance made it a pleasure to work together.”

Johnson continues: “I had lots of European drug store visits in mind when dreaming up this space. I also wanted to convey a feminine strength in the colour palette, with mint and subtle earthy pinks that contrast strongly against the chocolate-stained timber. It was important the effect wasn’t a caricature, but something more novel with a referenced sensation at the same time.”

Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie

The existing floorplan has been repurposed and comprises two volumes separated by an idyllic courtyard. The first space on the floorplan houses the most popular products, while an intimate space at the rear was designed to host small gatherings and one-on-one consultations, and is lined with exclusive fragrances from the catalogue – including distinguished brands such as Amouage, Creed and Trudon. The open-air courtyard allows natural light to filter through while creating a space for shoppers to sit and relax, and redefine the traditional concept of a ‘husband chair.’

Tamsin expressed that the parfumerie needed to be met “with a very calm surrounding palette to not out-compete the multitude of fragrance brands with all their varied packaging and branding.” Chocolate-stained European oak cabinetry is a core framework in the project, while bespoke timber joinery pays homage to apothecaries dating back to the 14th century.

“The soft mint backdrop freshens up the wood but keeps it soft in sensation at the same time,” she says. “There is a ‘vintage’ strength to the whole look, but the product is kept in focus, and the overall feeling has some more contemporary hearted mood as a result.”

Related: Oroton’s new home by Richards Stanisich

Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie

Whilst designing Libertine Parfumerie, Tamsin considered a myriad of sustainable elements. The perfumery boats a curation of vintages pieces and antiquities, and were moved by sea freight to avoid racking up air miles. Durable materials, fixtures and furnishings were invested in, as Tamsin expressed she intends all of her “interiors to last the test of time; long-term quality builds, rather than be pulled down and turned over.”

The interior design blends vintage and contemporary elements, with old French chiffoniers positioned near the glazed facade providing merchandising real estate for candles, room diffusers, homewares and, of course, fragrances. Upon entry, a round table sourced from 1960s Italy and carved from Carrara marble, sits perched in the centre of the space. Positioned against the rich, handsome surrounds, the antiquity adds a ‘feminine lightness’ to the space.

Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie

Full-height timber French doors with baroque detailing that lead shoppers in and out of the courtyard. Italian glass pieces sourced from Murano, including chandeliers, wall pendants and sculptural vases add touches of sophistication and visual intrigue.

Functional elements are also integrated into the design, 1800s antique French marble basins bring as washstands, inviting visitors to engage with fragrant soaps and lotions available for purchase. Large provincial timber tables with high-back brocade-upholstered seating create comfortable consultation spaces where patrons can interact with Libertine Parfumerie’s team of experts.

“Visitors to the store should feel transported yet at home,” adds Johnson. “The intention was to take shoppers on a journey of discovery, where they can make their way through the space in a paced way. But it also has that feel where you want to pause and settle in.”

Trompe l’oeil marble lines the walls and is coupled with Versailles-inspired parquetry flooring, to further enhance the sense of European charm across both the front and rear sections. Johnson’s attention to detail extends to every corner of the store, where mystery and artistry intertwine.

Libertine Parfumerie’s flagship store in Sydney is designed to be more than a basic retail space; it is a carefully curated environment where interior design and fragrance converge to offer patrons a personalised experience.

Tamsin Johnson

Libertine Parfumerie

Anson Smart

Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie
Tamsin Johnson - Libertine Parfumerie

More fine retail design: Aesop by Carr.

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