Pure and General

As the architect, owner and end user the brief was to design and entrepreneur firstly a new homewares brand and secondly a flagship store, which represents it. The project is interior-architecture and equally entrepreneurial.

Designed in a raw concrete (core and shell) 250m2 former car park (housed under a 1938 art deco residential flat building) the interior for Pure and General homewares (co owned with Linda Gregoriou) is designed as ostensibly as an art gallery to ensure the store’s merchandise and related display installations – speak loudest. The existing volume was maintained with minimal design intervention and new ceiling suspended services, while the shop fronts double window arrangement (one display window the other operable for car loading) were treated as street-galleries for set-design like merchandise-installations. The loading bay also doubles as Pure and General’s street café and looks like a seamless extension of the store. You simply sit on/in the merchandise. The entire space sits on a simple polished concrete floor.

The volume was designed as a gloss white on white gallery of concrete and smooth walled textures with one massive central raw concrete ceiling beam remaining. Within this envelope a simple backdrop curved wall hides the back of house and provides another gallery wall. Two elements are designed for fixed display. One is a series of  long suspended lengths of limed oak, wall shelving, the other a simple entry-counter designed as a block of timber. The ensemble is restrained and the effect ensures a dramatic space for the stores art-type installations. The ceiling is studded with a series of hooks for the hanging of further merchandise to ensure full three dimensional effect. The power of the carefully curated merchandise provides the magical touch.

The architect’s general multivalent philosophy ensured the design made good sense environmentally, commercially and culturally.  The multiple uses and (later flexible uses) resulting from the open plan is an exemplary example of how to design an interior space which can also talk to a streetscape and convert simply with the next user.

From a sustainability perspective the project is firstly a careful adaptive reuse requiring minimal works and ensuring low maintenance and accessible new services. Natural light and cross ventilation are designed and with the application of an all gloss white interior further enhance lighting conditions across this large across a large 25m x 20m internal floor plate. Low energy light (with optional gallery light) and recyclable materials are utilized.

The project ensures sustainable design is both economic-entrepreneurial and material in its thinking.

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