The challenge was to turn an old bank into a modern optical store in an old but trendy neighborhood of Paris, Le Marais.
We designed the interior of the optical store in the spirit of the fifties adapted to meet the contemporary expectations of the customers. The store occupies the ground floor of an Haussmaniann building. Though the store is a large open space, its layout comprises several rooms as in an apartment: a waiting room, a living room, a kids room and the laboratory. The laboratory stands behind a glass wall, so customers can see the opticians at work on their state of the art equipment. Customers hence really feel at ease in this homy ambiance. To reinforce this layout, we painted the arch in black and used washed out yellow and blue colors on the walls.
The glasses presentation cabinets have entirely been custom made and are freely inspired by Piet Mondrian’s painting. While the glasses are presented on the upper part of the cabinets with a lit up white background, the lower closed parts of the cabinets are red, blue and yellow parallelepipeds. Our client uses this lower part of the cabinets to store the glasses a hand-away from the samples presented, as well as other materials.
The shape and size of the cabinets are adapted to the particular needs of our client. An oriented mirror has been placed on top of each cabinet, enabling the customers to see themselves while trying on the glasses. Under each mirror and due to their inclination, we used the horizontal residual space to print the details and brands of the glasses in order to make them readable through the mirror. On top of being useful information, this optical impression also creates an animation.
The perspective of the store is also enhanced by the very graphic floor, which is made of 10cm by 10cm tiles in two colors – soft and dark grey- from Royal Mosa, laid out in a scaled houndstooth motif. The furniture, from chairs to tables, couch and every accessory has been carefully chosen by our clients, who spent many days going round Paris\’ flee market to find genuine 50’s pieces.
The facade of the store is probably our favorite feature. It is entirely made out of crocodile skin tiles from Rex Ceramich (Matouche collection). I must say we have had to fight for our choice for the facade, very edgy in a traditional neighborhood of Paris with its Haussmanian buildings, very hard with the Paris City Hall’s architecture department. Last but not least, we round up our presentation of this project by the large entrance door, made out of plain oak and which is mounted on two pivots. It is recessed inside the shop in order to allow its opening without disturbing the flow of pedestrians in the street.
Source: Marc Ifrah Architecture