“It (glass brick) enables global brands to combine the overwhelming desire of transparency with a couleur locale, and modernity with heritage.” – Winny Mass, Co-founder of MVRDV.
In a time where online shopping prevails, it is easy to forget how beautiful and immersive the experience of shopping in-store can be. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite retail stores across the globe, which each use brick in innovative and experimental ways to create a truly unforgettable experience for clients. This article is sure to re-ignite your love for the old-school brick-and-mortar store.
Aesop, Hong Kong
Architects: March Studio Architecture| Photographer: Peter Bennetts | Product: Austral Bricks Venetian Glass Arctic Crystal in Polished finish.Australian-born luxury skincare brand Aesop, known for its alignment with prominent architects and designers from around the globe, has opened its latest boutique in Hony Kong’s main business district, Central. Melbourne-based architecture firm March Studio designed the remarkable store, equipped with its original spiral staircase, and the undeniable hero of the space, a Venetian glass brick floor by Austral Bricks. The glass floor forms a series of steps and terraces, referencing Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers.
Project: Crystal Houses | Architects: MVRDV, Gietermans & Van Dijk | Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Photography: Sacgliola Brakkee PhotographyDubbed the ‘Crystal House’, Dutch architecture studio MVRDV used glass bricks to transform a Hermes boutique in Amsterdam’s high-end hub, PC Hooftstraat. The whole façade is constructed of Arctic Crystal glass bricks sourced from the Venetian glass studio, Poesia, founded in 1986. The result is a ‘dissolving’ façade, where glass and traditional brick meet at the horizontal centre point of the façade. Co-founder of MVRDV Winy Mass, spoke of the potential for glass bricks to introduce variety back into older cities, telling Dezeen: “It enables global brands to combine the overwhelming desire of transparency with a couleur locale, and modernity with heritage”. There has never been a better time to experiment with alternative construction technology, and as ever-increasing urban renewal sees Victorian facades anew, Poesia glass bricks are an elegant complement to the cities of tomorrow.
Architect: Thomson Adsett | Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones | Product: Nubrik Artisan in WolfBeloved Scandi label COS opened their multi-level flagship Queensland store in Brisbane in 2018. Best known for their organic shapes and modern, relaxed styles, COS’s range perfectly reflects the laid-back lifestyle of Queenslanders, and so does the store itself. Designed by Thomson Adsett, the store is characterised by its all-brick façade comprised of Austral Bricks Nubrik Artisan bricks in Wolf, creating an architectural statement with incredible street appeal. Whilst the store is inherently Scandinavian, the space was heavily inspired by Brisbane’s surrounding architecture, evident in the use of clean shapes and thoughtful lines throughout the design. With its contemporary, minimal aesthetic and calming neutral palette, COS Brisbane is a retail space like no other.
Designers: Room on Fire | Photographer: Sean Fennessy | Product: Bowral Bricks Bowral50mm in Chillingham WhiteFor Aussie swimwear and clothing brand Tigerlily’s Sydney Flagship store, Room on Fire architecture took inspiration from Sydney’s coastal landscape and beaches, designing a beachy, bohemian oasis. With a focus on local materials, texture and forms, the store is quintessentially Australian from the inside out. Bowral Bricks in Chillingham White clad the store’s outer façade, creating a bright and summery statement among the shopping centre surrounds. Sections of the outer brick façade are perforated, welcoming sunlight into the space, making the bricks appear to glow. This perforated motif is repeated on internal walls, while rosy-hued bricks are introduced in the store’s central counter.
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