Inside a simple rectangular glass box which sits alongside the humming Oxford Street in Sydney, Australia, is contemporary jewelry brand Sarah & Sebastian’s (Alexandria, Australia) trove of delicate handcrafted rings, dangling earrings and gem-encrusted necklaces. But you would never know it. That is, until the retailer triggers its big reveal.
The 231-square-foot store’s back walls are lined with display cabinets covered by a two-way mirror system that cleverly conceals the jewelry. Upon entering the store, a customer sees only the mirrors (which artfully reflect a nearby heritage-listed church) and the center cashwrap, a custom-built jeweler’s bench made out of American walnut and copper. Its tonal quality is inspired by a workbench that Sarah & Sebastian Co-Founder Sarah Gittoes’ father made for her when she was a teenager.
It’s a stark and minimal environment for the brand’s first brick-and-mortar shop; one that celebrates “the simplicity of their designs” as “an expression of their craft,” according to Mark Landini, Creative Director, Landini Associates (Sydney), the design and architecture firm that created the new flagship.
After a rundown on the jewelry design process and raw materials used, the jeweler simply flips a switch to illuminate sections of the mirror, transforming it to clear glass that unveils the collections hidden behind it. The reveal can be tailored to each customer’s specific interests. “We believe that in these changing times, you have to be brave and be different, surprise, delight and have a story to tell,” Landini says. “We call this reinventing normal. This is a process by which everything is challenged, broken down and, if need be, discarded. What results is the reinvention of the vernacular of any category that we are working in.”