Nicholas & Alexandra

New York

Lisa Ho Woollahra

Sydney | Australia

The project continues the firms exploration into the creation of retail spaces that allow for a more intimate relationship between the consumer and the collection. The boutique is conceived as an atelier, the clothing is experienced within a curated studio of objects, art, and sculptural elements all sitting within a heritage listed Victorian terrace.
The art and antiques acquired by the designers in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, are curated to carefully align and reinforce the brands unique identity. A walnut and alabaster Paul Mc Cobb Tea Cart serves as a display for the perfumes and jewelry held in circular velvet and glass apothecary domes sourced from the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves.
The richness of this diverse collection is extremely luxurious and presents the clothes as beautiful items with their own story within the atelier.

Project Philosophy and methodology

The project was conceived as a collection of distinct spaces informed by the parlor level planning of the heritage listed Victorian terrace that the boutique is housed within.
The atelier, originally the parlor of the terrace, holds two key pieces of art acquired for the boutique. With the acquisition of Sol Le Witt's 1986 "Two Pyramids-Four Colours" and Andy Warhol's "Ladies and Gentlemen" we were afforded a new tool to derive a strategic response to form and colour. Utilizing the geometry of the Le Witt, the solid brass rails mimic extruded traces of the paintings pyramids forms. The smoked green of the walls is a color match to the Warhol series from which Ladies and Gentlemen is taken. The garden room, adjacent to the atelier carries the swim wear range, and opens to the terrace garden beyond. Somewhat like a conservatory, the room houses a Paul Mc Cobb tea trolly which carries the perfume and accessory collections, while a custom walnut and enamel bookcase holds jewelry boxes illuminated with Alvar Aalto's classic bell lamp in brass.
The salon, at the rear of the terrace, contains the evening and bridal collections. A more private space, with a secondary concealed entry, the salon facilitates a more ceremonious form of engaging with the collection. Floating on the salon ceiling is a custom brass ceiling light which glows over a micro dot wall paper by Neisha Crosland.

Material and detailing

Freestanding and custom metals were inspired by Auguste Bonaz. A base material palette of solid brass, honed stone and velvet is used throughout and is a luxurious counterpoint to the existing hand applied plaster, wood and concrete floors. Floating pads of marble and brass delineate the change rooms from the existing wood and concrete floors. It was important conceptually that the change room was lifted above the floor, like a stage from which to descend.
The black steel metal work rails and the library shelves metal work were informed by Pierre Chareau’s La Maison de Verre, while the brass detailing again recalls Bonaz.
To elevate the tactile experience all surfaces that the customers touch are solid brass, velvet or stone.
Lighting was developed on two levels. A highly engineered system floats above the collection, providing fill and detail lighting. A secondary layering of lighting was then designed, consisting of a five meter custom brass wall light in the atelier, brass ceiling lights in the salon and Tom Dixon's Beat and Cone light.


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