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Best of est | New Australian Retail Spaces

The intersection between fashion and interior design can spark a rich exchange between two creative realms, epitomised in retail stores worldwide. In this Best of est feature, we explore six exceptional new Australian retail spaces that have emerged from collaborations between esteemed interior designers and fashion labels.

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Camilla and Marc by Akin Atelier

Woollahra, Sydney

The Camilla and Marc Woollahra store marks the brand’s seventh collaboration with Akin Atelier. Situated on a tree-lined street within a single-storey heritage building, the store is designed to emulate a sprawling home, divided into three distinct zones that flow seamlessly. The front room pays homage to the store’s locale with a sandstone wall and custom fireplace, while the adjacent sitting rooms embrace a more contemporary aesthetic with playful elements. Recessed walls are cleverly utilised to showcase the brand’s accessories, akin to how one would display them in their own home.

The carefully chosen furniture pieces convey the essence of the Camilla and Marc brand, epitomising refinement and sculptural simplicity. Notable pieces include the Cassina Soriana sofa, Baxter Tactile sofa, and Olivia Bossy credenza. We like to see each store as a conversation between the Camilla and Marc brand, the design, and the collections, with the narrative of each store reflecting the brand’s evolution,” Akin Atelier founder Kelvin Ho says. 

Song for the Mute by Pattern Studio

Sydney CBD

In Sydney’s CBD, Pattern Studio have realised an experiential new space for Song for the Mute within a grand heritage-listed building. Pattern Studio worked closely with the brand to explore their poetic philosophy of “accordance through contrast”, which suggests that a unified and harmonious result can be achieved by juxtaposing contrasting elements. This theme is reflected in the fit-out’s materiality, featuring a palette of powder-coated steel, micro cement and hardwood plywood that starkly contrasts with the interior’s magnificent stone detailing.

In response to stringent site restrictions that prohibited fixtures to the building’s existing fabric, Pattern Studio designed several bespoke free-standing retail elements, the most prominent being the store’s two mobile powder-coated steel pods. “Almost wholly utilitarian, the pods bring a distinctively modern whim to the neoclassical interior, resulting in an almost-bewildering sense of contrast,” Pattern Studio co-director Lily Goodwin says.

Up There by Kennedy Nolan

Melbourne CBD

Signifying a major evolution of the Up There brand, Kennedy Nolan were entrusted with designing their new flagship store on Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s CBD. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s love for saturated colour schemes and the unique space itself – a partially underground site nestled beneath the Herald and Weekly Times – Kennedy Nolan aimed to craft an interior that felt theatrical, abstract and carefully curated.

“​​Our practice has always invoked the power of colour as a mnemonic device, believing that places, experiences and emotions can be strongly associated with specific colours,” Kennedy Nolan co-founder Rachel Nolan says. Bright-green carpeted floors reminiscent of a grassy field create a grounding sensation underfoot, while reflective surfaces crafted from mirrored glass and galvanised steel add depth and intrigue. Neon lights and bold pops of colour, such as the tangerine curtains in the fitting room, further enhance the theatrical space.

An integral component of the Up There brand is its focus on community, so Kennedy Nolan also integrated dedicated ‘hang out’ spots within the store. At the far end of the store’s deep plan lies an in-house cafe, inviting patrons to sit down with friends and fully immerse themselves in the shopping experience.

Nagnata by Pattern Studio

Byron Bay, New South Wales

The Nagnata Byron Bay flagship store embodies the brand’s maverick spirit, relentless pursuit of innovation, and unwavering dedication to sustainability. Situated in Byron Bay’s newest fashion precinct, Jonson Lane, it stands alongside other cult Australian fashion labels such as Venroy and Deiji. At the project’s helm is fellow Byron-Bay-born Pattern Studio, who share the brand’s aversion to conventionality. “Nagnata has evolved into something more than activewear,” the studio’s co-director Lily Goodwin says. “Their garments feel equally at home in a Sydney Pilates studio, on an LA dancefloor, or at a Mallorcan cocktail hour.” The store’s concept aims to mirror this, resulting in a space that celebrates nonconformity.

The brand’s eco-conscious ethos manifests in natural materials such as plaster-rendered walls finished in Bauwerk limewash paint, creating a tactile backdrop to the eye-catching pieces. The curved shapes of the walls pay homage to the brand’s movement-focused philosophy, much like the velvet-upholstered sofa by Raf Simons does. Contrasting these earthy tones are cutting-edge lighting fixtures, including colour-shifting linear LED lights that dynamically alter the store’s atmosphere from day to night. “After dark, the entire store becomes bathed in coloured light, transforming the stylish, serene sanctuary into an electrifying, energetic environment,” Lily says.

DISSH by Brahman Perera

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Interior designer Brahman Perera brings his signature style to DISSH’s Bondi Beach store, infusing it with a refined relaxation that has become synonymous with the brand. “An understated elegance blending femininity with contemporary minimalism served as the foundation for the store’s concept,” Brahman explains. “We considered classical architectural techniques such as columns, stone, and mosaic inlay flooring, all providing a backdrop to the palette of soft textures and sandy tones,” he adds. Overlooking the ocean, the location also aligns perfectly with the brand’s laid-back, elevated style, as well their connection to the Australian coast.

The Bondi Beach store continues the brand’s sustainable evolution, with approximately 85 per cent of the furniture being preloved, reclaimed, or responsibly sourced from trusted partners and local artisans, including Armadillo Rugs, E Moderno and Oigall Projects.

Grace by Tali Roth Interior Design

Brighton, Melbourne

Grace’s Brighton store showcases interior designer Tali Roth’s affinity for timeless design, vibrant colour palettes and European aesthetics. “The client, Ilana Moses, envisioned a space that exuded luxury and offered a departure from traditional retail settings,” Tali says. Together, the pair meticulously curated the store’s layout, aiming to craft a unique and calming environment that let each individual piece of clothing sing. Notably, they chose to integrate features like the point of sale, display shelves, and bespoke seating options into the architectural framework, optimising spatial flow and ultimately enhancing the shopping experience. The sinuous contours of these elements confer a gallery-like feel upon the space, subtly directing the customer’s journey within the space.

The overarching concept for the store seeks to honour Ilana’s time sourcing pieces in Milan, embracing an inherently Italian material palette characterised by warm timber, stone flooring, and bold accents. “We wanted people to feel excited by the space,” Tali says. “We wanted it to be warm, intimate and visually engaging. Even all of the lighting fixtures were purposefully designed and layered to ensure it was not clinical or too bright,” she adds.

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