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Without batting an eyelash: Ashley Allen's comfort in design

  • Design
  • November 8, 2018
Without batting an eyelash: Ashley Allen's comfort in design

Ashley Allen is a beauty salon that provides eyelash extensions and sells its own brand of false eyelashes. Designer Justin Roderique of Pennant & Triumph says the client asked for an environment which would put the lashes at front and centre of the shop.

“I like that it’s very clean and simple but it portrays Ashley’s brand.”

His team devised an integrated system to showcase every lash style. Drawers underneath the display unit mean products can be taken away without disrupting the display: Roderique describes it as “one for show and one to go”.

The fit-out is simple and minimalist, using a wealth of natural materials such as marble. The shopfront and internal walls are hand-plastered, lending the store’s exterior an “organic” texture and a point of difference within the St Lukes shopping centre.

Its mainly female clientele is reflected in the colour palette, Roderique says. The main colour is a rich terracotta pink, accented with white oak timber. A large dried flower arrangement from Mark Antonia hangs above the front counter, which is champagne-coloured stainless steel.

“What we wanted to achieve for Ashley Allen was, because it’s quite an open space, we wanted it to be very considered.”

All the joinery at Ashley Allen St Lukes is bespoke and designed in New Zealand by shopfitter Gartshore. Roderique says it’s important for retailers to deliberately invest in their physical stores: “Retailers need to want to invest in the brand, invest in bricks and mortar.”

Rob Gartshore, managing director of Gartshore, says he’s seeing this level of individual consideration is becoming more important and more common as consumers shift from treating shopping as a chore towards approaching it as an experience.

“In the future as bricks and mortar retail evolves to compete against online retail you will see more ‘destinations’ and offer some experience malls and tenancies, similar to what you see overseas in the UK, Dubai, Australia,” Gartshore says. “When I worked in Dubai, I couldn’t understand why the malls pushed so hard to offer everything under one roof (other than an escape from the heat)… It was all about offering an experience to the consumer that they couldn’t otherwise get via an online retail experience.”

As well as helping the designer achieve a unique “wow” factor, custom-made bespoke joinery allows greater flexibility in a fit-out. It can take more time than off-the-rack joinery and costs can be higher, but Gartshore says his specialist detailing and procurement team can work with clients and designers to achieve the best possible result and value for money.

“We are particularly seeing this approach in our larger $10 million-plus commercial joinery projects where hotel designers want a bespoke solution, i.e., something that hasn’t been done before, but when you multiple a value-engineered option by 300 hotel rooms or 75 apartments, you really start to see the economies of scale become apparent.”

Gartshore and Pennant & Triumph have worked together for a number of years, and their strong relationship means they’re able to work as a team to deliver the best result for clients.

Gartshore’s favourite aspect of the Ashley Allen fit-out is the colour palette: “Between the solid timber, pinkish walls and polished brass, it’s very complementary and we have had a lot of very positive feedback.”

Asked if there’s anything Gartshore would like retailers to better understand about shopfitting and joinery, he says he’d appreciate if clients understood that engaging with shopfitters earlier in the planning process made it easier for the team to deliver a great result.

“A project may take several months to get from concept to developed design, then on to tender and unfortunately this just compresses the period in which the actual work is undertaken,” Gartshore says. “There needs to be a more collaborative approach whereby clients engage with the shopfitters earlier. This will allow for earlier procurement of materials, the ability to increase the level of work that is pre-fabricated offsite, and earlier engagement of specialist sub-contractors this will ultimately lead to less time on-site and a higher-quality finished product.”

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