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The art of juxtaposition

by Peace Chiu on Aug 26, 2014 in Interiors
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Jewellery brand Plukka is known for its edgy yet luxurious designs. For its first pop-up store, CEO and founder Joanne Ooi has chosen to work with Johnston Marklee (based in Los Angeles) and davidclovers (Hong Kong). We speak to David C. Erdman from davidclovers to find out more about how Plukka's first brick-and-mortar presence flips stereotypes of a jewellery store.

It's Plukka's first physical store, what were some of the challenges in coming up with the store design?
Joanne has asked us to make the pop-up store something that is on the one hand extroverted and noticeable, and on the other hand intimate, elegant and a bit more private. That’s challenging to do in a small space that has to hold a lot of stuff.
How did you overcome them?
By using the perimeter of the store, we managed to make the store (which is only about 400 square feet) feel bigger, but also intimate at moments. The shaping of the walls expands or collapses the space. At the entrance, the store pinches in and it almost looks like there is another space over there (inside the store). The graphic (on the wall) is brighter on the outside and spills out to the light box, while there is more black on black inside the store. This makes the depth of the space more elusive and if there's a client in the store who wants to look at things, the area is more private. But on the outside, the store still feels very big.
Even though the store is a very compact space, by having display cases organised into clusters which we call "petals" (as they resemble flower petals) floating within a void, rather than building them into the wall, makes the space more generous. The floating effect is achieved by having the support structure of the display cases made with felt — the same material as the carpet.
Plukka is known for its edgy, fashion forward and one-of-a-kind designs, what did you all do to highlight its uniqueness?
Working with black was a pretty bold move; most jewellery shops aren't all black. You see a lot more of the glass because it's in a black environment. The direction and organisation of the cases allow us to have a whole case devoted to one collector. This idea of taking what might otherwise be one large case, or a number of bigger cases, and breaking it down to smaller cases is really a way to allow Plukka to manage their collections in a whole host of different ways.
Pop-up stores are known for being a low-cost option to start up a business and Plukka promises to offer goods at an extraordinary value because of its online-only approach. However, Plukka is also known for its luxury and designer image. How did you manage to strike a balance between both ends of the continuum?
The design itself is not incredibly elaborate.  The wallpaper is pretty straightforward. A lot of it has to do with how you design the store with very cost effective and very standard materials. The most unique things are happening with the display cases, in terms of the integration of the lighting. But the display cases can be recycled and reused for other pop-up stores if we do them. These display cases are also quite cost effective, because they are all the same, they are just organised differently to make them seem like different cases.
In terms of the interior design, what did you do to bring the most out of the jewellery?
We tried to make it spatial. There is an idea of the flow of the space. The display cases are arranged in a way that promotes people to circulate around them, exploring them like a landscape. The display cases are not in one direction, so you have to move around them to see the jewellery. This also allows you to see many different sides of the different pieces. Plukka has a lot of pieces which are quite three dimensional, seeing them from the back is cool, because it gives you a better sense of the piece, which is not something you'll normally see in a jewellery store.
The Plukka pop-up jewellery boutique is located at Shop 113-114, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong. It will be open till 31 August 2014.
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