La Luna boutique

July 14, 2010

Jan Henderson talks to Matthew Sheargold about the challenges and highlights of his latest project, La Luna, in Cronulla.

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Jan Henderson: When and how did the idea for the design of the project originate?
Matthew Sheargold: The client had a very clear vision for how she wanted the environment to ‘feel’ – it should be feminine, a classic boutique feel, but with a contemporary twist. It should celebrate the product, while also making customers feel they were somewhere very special. From the outset we determined that we would use traditional details to give the space a classic feel, but we would use them in new and unexpected ways to give it a contemporary edge. Likewise we would use new materials to contrast with classic forms to create a balance with old and new, sophisticated and fun.

JH: What parameters were imposed on the design, if any?
MS: I had previously worked with the client’s husband on a number of interior projects, so was fortunate to already have a great working relationship and, as a result, their complete trust. It was without question one of the smoothest projects I’ve ever worked on. The client never had to challenge the design because we were able to deliver a design that was completely aligned with her vision. This only comes from trust and clear communication.

JH: Was cost a consideration and if so how did your design overcome any shortfall in the budget?
MS: As with any new business venture cost was a very real consideration and there was no opportunity for a budget overrun. The brief was to create a sophisticated environment; this would ultimately require a level of high quality detailing and finish. The overall palette was relatively cost-effective and we chose to spend a little more on some of the key items (flooring, service counter, merchandising system) that would have the greatest impact. Equally, detailing the project effectively and precisely together with a refined lighting solution meant simple elements achieve a higher quality feel.

JH: Do you feel that you have realised the design you set out to achieve?
MS: Absolutely. Not only are we happy with the result, but most importantly the client is extremely happy with the outcome. Equally important is that the feedback from customers has been incredibly positive. The greatest challenge with this project was ensuring that we didn’t alienate customers with an environment that was too austere, refined or over the top.

JH: How does this project differ from others you have completed?
MS: This is a very delicate, feminine project; it’s tactile and textured and its success was always going to be determined by the public reaction, how they feel in the space. This was also the first time we had worked with a new brand from the beginning, and with the branding agency, There, to establish a design language that will ultimately define them moving forward.

JH: How long did the project take to complete? Was it within the allocated timeframe? If not what were the challenges?
MS: The project took just over three months from appointment to completion. This was actually ahead of time and the store opened one week earlier than initially programmed. The key challenges were coordinating long lead time items such as the merchandise display system with the applied finishes they required.

JH: Were there obstacles at any time during the building process and, if so, how were these overcome?
MS: As the store is in a new building there were no issues with the site itself. As with any
project the issues were around coordinating the arrival of various materials, fittings and fixtures.

JH: What excited you about the project?
MS: What excited me most about this project is that we were able to bring the client’s vision to life while still adding so much of our own design personality. Most of all we love that people love it. Customers just come in and sit on the armchairs and take it in, which is a lovely compliment.

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