Before Christmas last year, a lady called me and left a message. She said she had found me on my website (slight pat on the back and jumping up and down quietly on the phone). She had a showroom in Melbourne that needed some work and liked the style of my website and the fact that I had designed Retrojans showroom. I was quietly optimistic as I liked the sound of her.
Sherryl Selwood was her name, the Director of the prestigious Spanish Furniture brand LaForma Barcelona Living. Sherryl invited me to view their Melbourne showroom as a potential contractor to redesign their space. Both Sherryl and Alberto the Showroom manager were eager to bring a sophistication and elegance into the warehouse to compliment their growing client base. When I arrived I noticed 2 things. The powerful size of the space, and overwhelming red partition walls around the perimeter. The only piece of furniture I noted was one shelving unit that met my eye level.
On moving inwards, I could see instantly why they had decided to invest in a new branding of their showroom. The furniture was incredible. Modern single pieces, contemporary collections and playful on trend accessories. It was obvious why their young company was growing exponentially. Their website and catalogues reflected their modern contemporary ranges in their styling and branding, but the showroom at this stage didn’t reference the same message.
As you can imagine in a big space, furniture can be placed and then lost easily without any deliberate effort to create design aesthetic and flow. The very products they were trying to make statements about were invisible. Within minutes, my design intuition kicked in and I had a concept. The space with its cold grey walls and floors needed drama and the furniture pieces themselves needed their own stage to shine.
A few weeks later I brought my design concepts to Sherryl and we agreed that this was what the furniture and showroom needed. From then it was full steam ahead. I made and dropped billowing 4-meter black curtains around the entire perimeters of the walls to create a sophisticated and elegant backdrop. This immediately turned a cold grey space into a welcome, relaxing environment and effectively the furniture popped against the black surrounds.Each furniture range required highlighting, so I formed spaces around the showroom using textural walls as a backdrop to capture their unique design style. By matching and layering LaFormas beautiful accessories within the rooms, the spaces became personal and inviting, rather than individual furniture pieces within a large space.
With 4 meter walls encompassing the space, differing heights were required to draw the eye to dot points around the room and create peaks and flow. Initially this was a large space with flat furniture as far as the eye could see so using height was critical in highlighting pieces that were otherwise lost amongst the heavier furniture. I made risers and hanging table baskets which allowed accessories and single furniture pieces to rise and float lightly amongst the ranges giving them their own stage to shine.
One of Laformas biggest asset is their range in dining chairs. On my first visit I hardly noticed them at all as they were sitting underneath the tables. I instantly had a vision of the chairs almost floating from different heights against the black of the curtains. I contacted retail systems makers MADE with my concept of floating chairs sitting on a thin fixture with black brackets holding up the chairs and within weeks the concept was a reality. The dining chairs now dominate their own space so the customer can’t miss these essential products.
The showroom in its completion needed heavy duty Visual Merchandising once all props and furnishings were installed. With the amazing LaForma team, I directed the products to their planned destination using Visual Merchandising design strategies and the vision I had from the moment I walked into the space 4 months prior.
The Laforma showroom now captures the character the space was longing for, the stories the furniture needed to tell and the branding the owners wanted to portray. I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Sherryl and her team. I’m a one-woman small business and to have someone who trusts and support the work I do was incredible. I hope to work with Laforma again soon; they are one of those great clients you only imagine.