It’s a rare thing indeed for us to get excited about a new store opening from a design perspective. But Amsterdam-based glasses brand Ace & Tate always takes care over its retail spaces and that’s certainly the case with the two new permanent locations it’s launching this week in London: on Hanbury Street in East London and Brewer Street in Soho.
For the Brewer Street shop, which opened its doors this week, the brand teamed up with creative agency Anyways (which is part of the HudsonBec group, It’s Nice That’s parent company) and the Granby Workshop in Liverpool. The workshop is a social enterprise set up by the Turner Prize-winning creative collective Assemble and for this project it created a host of vibrantly coloured, swirl-patterned, hand-crafted marble tiles. They cover the floor at ground level and are designed to subtly pay homage to the paving tiles from nearby Carnaby Street during its 1970s heyday.
Meanwhile, in a playful nod to Soho’s reputation for voyeurism, the Brewer Street space was also designed to allow passers-by to peep in and see every room. Staring straight back out at them is a set of bright neon eyes at the back of the shop that shut when the store closes and reopen each morning. (If you look at them long enough you might just catch a wink, too.)
As for Hanbury Street, artist William Luz was tasked with designing a mural that draws inspiration from Brick Lane’s multicultural community, using colour and form to extend the street culture into the store. The dynamic piece made of finely tuned lines and organic wobbles balances the grid-like centrepiece of the store which is the optician room.
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