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Customers venturing into this store are likely to feel as if they are stepping into a small and very delicate jewellery box filled with beautiful objects

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A retail store may be designed to conform with the known expectations of its customers, but greater originality and an element of surprise can be a more successful recipe.

Interior designers Sarah Urbani and James Leyton were asked to provide a design scheme for a new upmarket store, Jools Jewellery. The owners wanted a design that could be applied internationally as their business expands, and they wanted the appearance and tone of the store to reflect the high quality and individual nature of their jewellery brand.

"We looked at how jewellery is displayed in a typical jewellery box and decided to take this experience and extend it into a larger space," says Urbani. "If we can offer the customers an experience that is different from other similar stores, they will remember it and return."

To achieve their vision, the designers decided to upholster one long, curved wall of the space in ribs of a deep chocolate brown velvet fabric. The colour and finish mimics the interior of a traditional jewellery box, and at the same time, provides a strong contrast against which the jewels can sparkle and shine.

"The jewellery had to be the focus of the space, rather than the interior of the shop itself. Its role was to provide a backdrop for the pieces," says Leyton.

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A second wall across the back of the store is covered in a smoked bronze mirrored finish with a gold graphic overlay.

"We wanted the mirrored wall to reflect the interior of the store and make what is actually quite a small space appear larger. However, we didn't want customers to feel uncomfortable by seeing themselves on the opposite wall of the store, hence the gold graphic, which has the effect of distorting reflections," says Urbani.

To relieve the otherwise very simple and understated decor, but without detracting from the jewellery, the ceiling was covered in a patterned wallpaper in the opulent brown, bronze and gold tones that are used elsewhere in the interior.

The designers say the layout of the space was conceived as a journey, beginning at the front door. Here, the door handle and two decorative features, which help establish the brand, are designed to look like large, bejewelled gold rings floating against the background of the glass front door and wall.

Once in the door, three spun-gold pendant lights capture the attention of customers and create a starting point for the journey through the store. Several round display pods encourage circulation within the space. The base of each pod is upholstered in the same rich, chocolate velvet as the side wall, and LED lights wash over the fabric, drawing attention to the jewellery. A half-round pod at the rear of the store provides a discreetly located service area for the staff.

The gold ring motif on the front door is repeated along the side wall of the store, providing display space for the jewellery in circular pods of different sizes. Each pod is pushed out through the wall and surrounded by a glowing gold ring.

Additional display space is provided in a long floating display case in front of the mirrored wall.

"Our store design breaks the traditional boundary of an island counter separating the staff from their customers. Instead, in Jools, we have developed a more personal experience whereby staff and customers stand side by side to look at and try on jewellery," says Leyton.

First published date: 29 June 2010

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Credit List

Location Jools Jewellery, Karrinyup, WA
Interior designers Sarah Urbani, James Leyton, Urbani Leyton Design
Construction Dovetails
Flooring Supertuft Carpets
Mirrored wall covering Bronze mirror with vinyl graphic
Upholstered wall covering Warwick Fabrics
Upholsterer Everest Design
Ceiling Gyprock lined with wallpaper by Designers Guild
Paints and varnishes Dulux; Solver Paints
Lighting Aura Lighting
Office furniture Custom designed
Display cabinets Custom designed by Urbani Leyton Design
Signage Kingman Visual
Graphic design Internal wall graphic by Urbani Leyton Design