This store, previously a warehouse for powder-coating equipment and functioning workshop, was stripped out and reinvented as a retail/function/gallery space.The existing building’s mezzanine and internal partitions were removed to expose an unexpectedly generous volume of space. This volume is enhanced by over-scaling of elements within such as the 3.6m tall mirrors, 10m long sales counter, and enlarging of existing openings allowing for maximum natural light. The treatment of the building is a process of reduction, exposing the simple gable form, then careful detailing of all new interventions to maintain a coherent industrial language that carries through to the smallest detail.The scale and simplicity of the space presented opportunities for long time collaborating artists John Reynolds and Martin Poppelwell, to create large scale insitu artworks. John’s work runs the length of the store internally, while Martin’s acts as a subtle sign/public artwork facing Ponsonby Rd. Both artist’s designs feature on clothing sold in the store, and both sell art through Workshop. Martin’s work is further integrated with custom hand tufted rugs in the dressing areas, and ceramic discs forming entry door pulls. Another long time Workshop collaborator, Gary Hunt, steel fabricator, rescued an existing motorised conveyor from the building, recommissioning it, and building a new support frame and legs. This forms a centrepiece in the store. Gary’s signature waxed finish black steel is used on entry doors, mirror frames, and an over-scaled shelving system on the back wall. The fit-out was undertaken on a modest budget. Because of the size of the store, and quantity of fittings required, galvanized water pipe and kee klamp fixtures are used for the majority of the shop fittings. These were carefully proportioned and configured to form elements both functional and sculptural. The pipe is burnished for a refined look, and is contrasted with waxed oak shelving, or the, corian/glass/powdercoated steel sales counter. Lighting is a mixture of found lights, feature pieces, and purely functional. The translucent white glass fittings, and steel shades in the dressing areas werefound in the existing building, the High-Bay lamps are a supermarket standard,and a replica Jean Prouve Potence wall lamp provides a focus over the sales counter. Colour plays a key role in the deign with a variety of Le Corbusier greys used to modulate the forms of the interior and exterior while keeping the overall feelof simple monochromatic space. The focus then is drawn to the clothes.We enjoy the latitude these projects bring to explore difficult detailing in a semi public arena. The space goes beyond expectations of what constitutes a retail store and presented a fascinating opportunity to reinvent an unremarkable building, developing a language of subtle industrial detailing, and incorporating works by two leading New Zealand artists. 


www.workshop.co.nz

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