Cubitts Archive Concept Shop
This project creates a fantastical vision of what an optician’s shop could be. Learning from Cubitts’ existing shops, where storage systems are often presented as an integral part of the interior, initial research work explored the characteristics of an archive and established the following criterial attributes; ‘categorisation’, ‘repetition’, ‘grid’, ‘infinite’, ‘mechanistic’ and ‘subterranean’. The design proposal set about creating an interior environment that delivers these attributes. To this end the ground level of the existing site is left largely untouched save for the introduction of a gridded glass floor that reveals a vast underground void filled with an archive of spectacles displayed against mirrored panels that reflect the collection into infinity. Adjacent to the glass floor, an enigmatic mirrored cube houses a lift that transports visitors to the shop floor level deep beneath the earth’s surface. As customers descend in the lift, they are taken on a journey through Cubitts vast collection of spectacle frames until they arrive at the basement level where the display presents the spectacles for sale arranged around three sides of a square floor space. Wrapped around the shop floor is an ‘L shaped’ arrangement of spaces that contain all the support facilities for the opticians. The design language for the interior is derived from an industrial ‘hi-tech’ aesthetic that uses powder coated metal, mirror and glossy acrylic panels to this end. The scheme employs bright primary colours inspired by the paintings of Mondrian and these colours are used to ‘code’ elements of the scheme. A key component is a red column that stretches from the basement to the ground floor level and establishes the centre point of the scheme.