- Article by Online Editor
Architecture collective SIBLING will see its latest collaboration launched in August – the architecture for DUST, a progressive publishing and retail concept located in Australia’s culture capital, Melbourne.
From the infinite details to the unifying vision, DUST creates a considered sensory universe which works beyond traditional conceptions of both retail and publishing to deliver an experience which spans apparel, fragrance, printed matter, sound, architecture and technology with an ever-evolving roster of collaborators. The vast CBD location designed by SIBLING provides the first physical home for the brand and its cross-disciplinary offering.
“The dérive – the unplanned journey through a landscape, as defined by Guy Debord and the situationists – serves as a foundational element within DUST,” says Brett Gronow, founder.
To invite chance determinant discovery, wonder and redefined perspective, particularly in reference to the relationship between one and one’s city, with every sense, provided an adventurous and powerful brief for SIBLING to manifest in the architecture.
“Cities are defined by culture. Culture is defined by experience. DUST is about that experience, and about being involved in the creation of an emotional cartography,” says Brett.
Combining the notion of the derive with the Golden Ratio – which serves as the inspiration for the DUST sigil – SIBLING used the grid as the primary structuring device, realised across three dimensions in the 280 square metre space. The experience begins on the external footpath where an illuminated steel tunnel draws the passer-by down into the monochromatic subterranean afterworld.
Here, the matrix acts as a marker of the beginning of the journey, and symbolic of a descent into the brand’s subconscious. Once below ground, prismatic lighting and infinity mirrors toy with spatial perception. There are mirrored reflections, luminescent surfaces, spatialised sound, animated LED screens and the dematerialising effect of black-on-black textures where one loses sense of their surrounds.
“The [Golden Ratio] grid was also used by the renegade design group Superstudio in the late-1960s to create a zen-like essence in their work, as it defines architecture in its basic form,” explained SIBLING’s lead creative, Timothy Moore. “We used this as a starting point but noticed that the grid can also generate complexity from its extrusion in different dimensions, to the disruption of products and people. The grid, or network, is not overbearing: it can be liberating.”
A gridded steel tunnel draws one further inside and along the path of creating an individuated, bespoke garment.
Backlit panels accentuate the perfection of the grid, which appears to stretch to the horizon with the subtle placement of mirrors. This inescapable continuity is only disrupted by the strong utilitarian DUST offering, and the others exploring the space.
A black-mirrored monolith remains overtly in the field of vision as one navigates through the space. The finale is to step inside this form – the DUST REDUX void – made from multi-textured black elements such as rubber, leather and switch glass, entered after negotiating a custom cut mirrored entrance. Once inside, one is rewarded with DUST REDUX – beautifully crafted, limited edition garments of tactile luxury.
“The humanising of technology is important for the brand. Architecture supports this by creating multi-sensory moments that appeal to the customer, such as responsive olfactory surfaces made from custom-formed acrylic polymer. In these moments, all the senses are engaged, all perceptions are challenged,” Timothy said.
Individual treatment of the various brand constructs was required by the architecture to ensure the authenticity of the experience. The space includes an individuated luxury retail concept – where the customer’s research, selection, creation and purchase happen on-site and on-demand. A traditional retail area houses the apparel and fragrance offering; a open area provides free wifi and perusal of the custom software for the design of bespoke t-shirts from a selection of malleable elements; the construction area where purpose-built machinery create the custom garment; and a series of installation spaces ready for activation based on the brand’s ever-evolving range of works and artists.
The store launches on 7 August and opens to the public on 8 August 2014.