Viktoria & Woods, Emporium

Fiona Lynch

The Viktoria & Woods store at Emporium is the second major boutique designed by Fiona Lynch for the Australian clothing retailer. Securing a large space in the Emporium Shopping Centre in Melbourne, this store presented a very different layout to the Victorian heritage site of Viktoria & Woods’ flagship store in Sydney. While working with existing architectural aspects, the client wanted to create a similar warm and inviting space for the customer, reflecting the brand’s clean and minimal aesthetic, with plenty of storage and, above all, functionality.

Fiona Lynch looked to subtly employ a Japanese design philosophy, where there is a perfect balance of simplicity and the unexpected. Being sensitive to the context of the space, the design team took on a more architectural approach, balancing strong forms with softer, more tactile elements and materials. The material palette is restrained, textured and natural. The full-height shopfront glazing panels are offset slightly from each other, creating an elegant colonnade of glass. This is balanced with soft grey rendered walls, terrazzo tiled flooring, rough-sawn painted timber elements, and open-seam leather ottomans.

The brushed stainless steel clothing rails are seamlessly tucked into bulkheads with concealed lighting to the side wall, allowing the product to breathe within the space. Special attention was given to the layering of materials in a subtle and unexpected way. The point of sale counter is made entirely of Corian and sits in front of a custom soft pink anodised aluminium shelving unit. Backing this is a soft grey curtain, wrapping the fitting rooms to the rear of the store. Storage is cleverly hidden in the mirrored cabinets, which have a sliding panel that can be moved for customer use. The heritage windows that had previously been hidden from view are celebrated, bringing natural light into the space.

At a time when the retail environment is a fickle game, Viktoria & Woods wished to showcase a successful and trend-setting brand, whilst still adhering to a strict budget and sensitivity to the climate in which they were building. The design team explored an architectural approach to create a spatially engaging experience that is complementary and stands in its own right to the product. The experience of shopping has evolved over the years from strips to boutiques, and now, Viktoria & Woods, Emporium adds to and leads this evolution in the design of large complexes with premium brands.

Photography: Sharyn Cairns