It must be the work of ghosts. After all, it appears divinely effortless as though no human hand had intervened in its realisation and no bead of sweat had perspired from a brow. Naturally, of course, this grace is entirely expected – it’s that elegant sleight of hand so inherent in their design ethos. They make linen appear to have the lubricious swish of silk cashmere. Glass pendant lamps seem to twist into sculptural chrysalises. Light from every direction is purely aureate – carrying the golden afterglow for which Melbourne has always been rightly famed. Such is Hecker Guthrie’s latest triumph and Schiavello’s new chapter: retail.
Having just opened the doors on Schiavello’s new retail showroom in Melbourne, Schiavello and Hecker Guthrie’s collaboration stands forth as one of our country’s best exemplars of design thinking unfurling in real time. Akin to a hedge maze, the attenuation of space teases and intrigues one to navigate spaces and peek around corners. Spaces are apportioned into more spaces, rooms subdivide into more intimate rooms, achieving a drama of spatial revealing – an architectural striptease (if you will).
“We sought to bring an architectural sensibility to the new Schiavello retail showroom, enhancing and augmenting the existing space with a play of different shapes and forms to draw attention to its contemporary context,”
says Hecker Guthrie.
Fresh off the back of celebrating 50-plus years of design excellence in Australia, Schiavello’s latest venture is an important milestone in the brand’s legacy. Worldwide, the Schiavello name is synonymous with serious design credentials: amassing an impressive portfolio of high-profile projects over the years and having worked with a number of architecture and interior design heavyweights. With the opening of its Melbourne flagship retail space, the brand establishes an all-new visual and design language.
Schiavello is uniquely positioned on the global design stage, infusing international design trends and innovation with a distinctive Australian pragmatism and flair. Consequently, it’s little wonder that for this significant new project Schiavello sought the expertise of a likeminded brand. As one of this country’s most vaunted design duos, Hecker Guthrie has remained at the top echelon of Australian design since 1999.
“We recognised two streams within the Schiavello brand: the corporate side for which the brand is best known, and the hospitality and domestic side in which they’re becoming increasingly influential. As a result, the showroom location is separated into streams for ease of use – thus carefully curating spaces to ensure easy navigation for customers throughout,” Hecker Guthrie says.
From seating to shelving and tables, Schiavello’s retail offerings are on par with its commercial and contract lines, bringing the world-class style, functionality and innovation that designers already know and love into the Australian public. For the new showroom, it was only natural that such design excellence be met with further excellence in Hecker Guthrie’s inimitable approach. Clean design lines and volumes nest together in a layered assemblage of luxe materials including leather, velvet, glass, and timber. A natural palette of white rendered walls and natural oak flooring is offset by moss green and light grey carpet, cream leather, and a meticulously curated collection of new Schiavello pieces. Thanks to full-height façade and a corner frontage, the entire space is bathed in warm,
bright natural light.
Light is a key feature in the showroom’s design, which avails of a variety of light sources to capture different moods throughout its different spaces. Directional spotlights highlight the furniture, their strong beams softened by ceiling pendants and wall lights that offer a soft, decorative ambience. Cutting cleanly through this ambience are local glass blower Mark Douglass’ colourful, voluptuous glass lighting and objects, some of which were designed specifically for Schiavello.
At the heart of the space, a kitchen anchors the showroom firmly to the Schiavello culture, of which coffee making is an integral part. White marble benchtops contrast timber joinery and floors, while suspended pendant lighting accentuates the height of the space. Potted plants add bursts of colour and vitality, as do paintings and photographs. Elsewhere throughout the showroom, this counterpoint to the neutral palette is provided by way of Vertical Gardens laced with greenery.
Schiavello is an enduring champion of Australian-made design. The showroom’s emphasis on natural light and open plan living is attuned to the direction residential design appears to be headed: bright, airy interiors in which spaces melt into one another. And the memory? It’s the discrete charm of creative, thoughtful design. Design, that is, to articulate the future.