Boasting double height ceilings and grand arched windows that look out onto the gardens of Council House and The Bell Tower, the Aurelio Costarella flagship store on St Georges Terrace in Perth is one of the largest tenancies in the refurbishment of the Treasury Buildings.
The buildings had been home to many of the state’s most significant offices for more than 140 years. After lying dormant for 20 years, a new life and identity has been bestowed upon them.
The 135sqm store is subtly situated on the left when entering the old postal hall from St Georges Terrace, and consists a small entrance hall, a 30sqm room, and a 100sqm main room divided by an old fireplace and archway.
Interior designer Janet Keating explains the importance of paying tribute to the existing site. “Through understanding its history, as well as the new vision for the entire treasury complex, we tried to find a subtle way to ‘contrast-to-complement’ the space,” says Janet.
The use of brushed square brass, matt marble surfaces, of linearity and geometry, and five-metre high metallic mesh curtains read together well and narrate the brand as well as the existing site. However, it is in their details that a contemporary contrast to the original site presents itself.
“We had received a great mood board from Costarella that gave us a clear glimpse of what he was wanting for the space — simple and clean,” says Janet. “We had this idea that we could use the clothes racks, and other usually utilitarian functions of a store, to frame the varying areas, and within these areas, the products.”
Wall mounted clothes racks were extruded and exaggerated by four metres in order to generate an ‘absence’ of sorts; similar to an empty frame that shows where a painting once was. This height and exaggeration guides the eye to the bottom of the racks where the clothes can be seen. “It is almost as if these overhead racks look like paintings where bright oil colours (clothes) have all dripped and concentrated at the bottom.”
Bronzed mirror was another key element used to manifest the gallery-retail concept. “We used it on the inside of doorways to frame varying zones, as well as on custom made plinths and display shelves. “This also allowed us to reflect the products available.”
With just six weeks to complete the project, the stunning store is a perfect fit for Aurelio Costarella’s beautiful collection of couture gowns.
JK Interior Design
Photography: Greg Lewis