Physical meets digital

DustDust is a multi-sensory concept store based in Melbourne, designed by Sibling to act as a physical browsing space for the brand’s online store.

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Sibling design directors, Amelia Borg and Jane Caught, spoke to Inside Retail PREMIUM about the 280sqm store design, which is shortlisted in the Australian Interior Design Awards 2015.

“[Dust] has a conceptual approach to production, in a way that they were looking for product that responded to each of the five senses,” said Caught.

A highly eclectic label, Dust showcases a signature fragrance and original music, which can be smelt and heard throughout the store, but its main product range is custom made clothing, which can be ordered via iPads and printed on the spot.

“The idea is you come into the store and can sit down on these tables or lounges, browse the collection digitally on an iPad, then there’s a whole load of garments actually displayed in the shop as a physical reference to the products that you’ll order,” said Borg.

The idea of the store was to stock product that appeals to each of the five senses; sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound.

Sibling developed a motion activated scent dispenser, which turns the Dust fragrance into a vapour which is released when it senses movement. Three of these are scattered at different points of the space.

The store is broken into two sections, one completely white, the other black and designed to house the Dust luxury capsule collection.

The first space is completely white and Sibling introduced the idea of a grid, teamed with mirror and different reflective surfaces.

“We’ve been investigating the use of the grid and also the idea of creating an infinite reflective chamber, so I think for us personally, being able to take that to such a massive scale and space was quite a fun and amazing thing to do,” said Borg.

The 40sqm black space sits in contrast to the larger 240sqm white area, and uses a play on different textures to create a sense of luxury. It features black leather, black carpet, black reflective surfaces, rubber, and a black mirror.

“The client is sort of an eccentric person and he really wanted us to push the boundary of a normal retail experience.

“We did that through lots of reflective surfaces, we have a device where we’re able to mirror reflections infinitely and we used a lot of lighting and textural materials as opposed to keeping it plain to take people out of their usual day to day experience of retail,” said Caught.

Garments are hung on a specially designed racking system, which is able to be broken down and moved around the store to give it an ever changing layout.

“The client was really interested in having a space that would change over the day, or maybe change from season to season. We’ve got these three components within the larger space that the physical stock hangs on, and each of those three components breaks into another three and they are all able to be reconfigured,” said Caught.

One challenge Sibling faced when designing the Dust store, was that it is located in a basement, a large hanging grid structure was created which is lit by LED lights and wraps from store up to street level.

“We had to investigate that idea of when you’re in retail and you’re in a basement you don’t have that street presence. The way we dealt with that was to bring a part of the space up into the street. That’s worked really well because it gives the space a presence on the street, but it also pulls you down in a design sense,” said Borg.

* Dust opened in December 2014. At the time of print the Dust website was down, and the store closed. Inside Retail PREMIUM was unable to contact Dust for comment on whether the store will reopen.

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2043. To subscribe, click here.

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