Chinatown Country Club
Chinatown Country Club is an independent fashion concept, headquartered in Sydney. The shop is intended to be a safe space for locals to enjoy coffee, food, fashion, books and music; like a social club. To enable the client’s vision, the space features a small café and an open retail area—guests can grab a coffee, take a seat to view changing artwork from local artists, and browse the shelves in an unrushed format. The design echoes this philosophy with an emphasis on gathering spaces, focal points for art and fashion and traditional Chinese design accents.
The concept of the project itself is unique in that it aims to find the right architectural boundary between the different functions of fashion, food/hospitality and a community space. The design approach is progressive in its representation of culture that is quintessentially modern Australian. The site is situated in a heritage building, with large windows flanked by Australian sandstone. Inside, the heritage setting is repurposed to celebrate designers from around the world, and the client’s own Chinese-Australian background. Chinese design elements are baked into the DNA of the store—influencing both the circulation and design motifs used throughout—but ultimately recede to give precedence to the fashion on display.
To combine the incongruous worlds of high-end fashion and the familiarity of a local club, creating different zones was important. There needed to be intimate areas for shoppers to feel special, but also gathering space to welcome guests and have conversations. AWA Studio developed a concept of an “alleyway” to divide and connect the zones. Made up of booths that were constructed in the traditional timber and stucco style, the alleyway evokes old Chinese “hutongs”, transforming liminal space into functional retail sections. The subdued colour palette and materiality provides a neutral canvass for the fashion and artists on display.
Ultimately, the design aims to convey luxury in new and subtle ways, by providing a platform for the clothes to shine, but also introducing surprising details that spark moments of discovery, a cheeky selfie or an interesting conversation.
Furniture: Vitra, UniFor Australia, Noguchi, Space Furniture. Lighting: EST Lighting. Finishes: Maharam Kvadrat, That’s The Finish, Euromarble. Fittings & Fixtures: Mahlkonig, Abey, Hobart.
Photography: RL Studio.