Progressive interiors shake up the status quo and change our perceptions of space
Humans are a funny breed.
We have a fundamental need to define things by putting them in boxes. This is how we make sense of our world. Subscribing to a view and belonging to a tribe makes us feel comfortable. Having the vision and courage to separate ourselves from the pack and embrace things that don’t immediately make sense is a rare trait. Unsurprisingly, our relationship to interiors follows the same logic. Melbourne has recently welcomed a new crop of progressive interiors that are boldly redefining what a shop, a restaurant or a workplace ought to look like. The types of spaces that can’t quickly be labelled. Octavius La Rosa is a fashion collector obsessed with avant-garde Japanese label Comme des Garçons, among others. As the purveyor of an online store specialising in collectable fashion, the young Melbournian is relentless in his careful research of garments from the 20th and 21st century and has amassed an impressive collection of some 3000 pieces. Recently, La Rosa’s online store manifested into Dot Comme Collection, a unique retail interior designed by Sibling Architecture.
The design team began with a classic white cube synonymous with gallery spaces. They expertly transformed the flat surfaces into sculptural silhouettes, much as clothing designers treat their garments. This directional concept store effortlessly blurs the boundaries between artefacts and merchandise, fashion and art, virtual and digital. Located in the basement of an unmemorable building in one of Melbourne CBD’s many laneways lies the discreetly hidden fine-dining jewel by Tomotaka Ishizuka. The acclaimed chef’s eponymous restaurant showcases the rarefied world of Japanese haute cuisine known as kaiseki. With an enormous sense of theatre, the all-encompassing experience is further heightened by design firm Russell & George’s cutting-edge interior. The design is stripped to the absolute essentials, existing on the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum to most fine-dining destinations we have come to expect. A translucent cocoon-like structure adds a striking but subtle element of whimsy reminiscent of Japanese paper lanterns and veils the exclusive intimate setting. Perhaps the most original example of nontradition at play is Space & Time, another recent scheme by Russell & George, where the studio acts as both designer and client. This infinitely flexible, futurist project crosses the disciplines of architecture, interiors, product and industrial design. Devised to change the way we think about space, the interior can be configured as a workplace, events space, restaurant, gallery or showroom. Each spatial configuration has an unmistakable character, unified by an arresting ceiling containing thousands of coloured LED lights that can be adjusted to suit any occasion. Space & Time’s chameleon-like environments makes for a genuinely intriguing project that’s super relevant for today’s increasingly complex world. This concept of openness taps into the very essence of creativity and invites unique and inspiring expressions that generate excitement and diversity. A design approach that shakes up the norm not only enriches our interiors, our buildings and our cities, but also our lives. Now that’s an idea worth opening your minds to.
FROM TOP Dot Comme Collection, designed by Sibling Architecture, and Ishizuka restaurant, by Russell & George, both in Melbourne’s CBD.