- Article by Natalie Mortimer
Christopher Elliot Design has designed a new trade showroom for EST Lighting Showroom inspired by the way light interacts with curved surfaces.
Offering a curated mix of both architectural and decorative lighting products EST Lighting wanted to open a ‘destination’ showroom, featuring a central workstation where it could present products and workshop plans with clients, who are primarily architects and interior designers.
The site, in Melbourne’s Richmond, presented many design challenges, says Christopher Elliot. “Our primary design challenge was that we didn’t have a finished ceiling to work with. We just had an industrial saw-tooth roof with exposed beams and service ducts… not exactly ideal for a lighting showroom!
“So a lot of the design resolve centred around rectifying this problem. Not only did we need a surface for locating the light fittings, but also we needed to limit the natural light into the space and it wasn’t feasible to install a ceiling throughout the entire showroom.
“Second, to this, it was important to create spaces within the space where lighting products could be featured or highlighted and not lost in a sea of competing products. Essentially, we didn’t want a ‘Christmas tree’ effect of a million lights seen together.”
Inspiration came from witnessing the way light interacted with curved surfaces and this became the foundation for the design with the formation of curved walls and partitioning.
Materials such as the slattered timber of the island bench and s-fold curtain that flanks the entrance were chosen due to their interplay with light. The warm colour palette was conceived to offset the austerity of the building and juxtapose with the industrial elements.
“We wanted the colour story to be tonal, and although we chose bold colours, overall they would act like neutrals,” adds Elliot.
Interestingly, a barista’s coffee machine was a driving reason for the layout of the showroom, with staff even being set on a professional barista course.
“EST Lighting’s discerning clientele don’t typically respond well to a sales pitch but rather a collaborative approach,” says Elliot. “As simple as it may seem, having a barista’s coffee machine allows EST Lighting’s clients to feel like they are at their favourite cafe; casually chatting.
“This informal service style is a modern approach to doing business that many progressive companies are taking on board. You only have to look at the success of the latest Apple stores to see how the line between a customer and a consultant is blurred.”
Photography by Jack Lovell