Working in partnership with the skincare brand, Herbert and Mason have created a store for Grown Alchemist worthy of flagship status.
Restoring a run-down townhouse in Carlton in Melbourne’s north, the practice has looked to intersect new and old and industrial and contemporary within the same space. Keston Mujis, co-owner of Grown Alchemist, has used his skills in product design in the past to devise a stainless steel and glass counter and shelving system that has seen it implemented in a number of retail spaces around the globe. The shop is effectively an evolution of that counter, that aims to showcase the scientific methods the brand is built upon with a laboratory-esque aesthetic. The glass box laboratory juxtaposes the industrial character of the townhouse, fusing two opposing styles within a single space.
Mujis had a clear idea in mind for how he endeavoured the store to turn out, but looked to Herbert and Mason to bring suggestions to the table. The practice operated out of the terrace house when masterplanning the King and Godfree precinct, in which the store sits, giving Herbert and Mason the ability to finish what they started. The store comes into sightlines when approaching from a laneway off Faraday Street, as well as a walkway through the precinct from Lygon Street.
Missing a roof, the terrace house the store sits within didn’t see a like-for-like replacement, with the practice opting for a flat, transparent polycarbonate roof, allowing the rooms to be awash with natural light through the daytime, with luminescent lights illuminating the box after hours. The floor has been moved from upstairs to the ground, requiring old concrete to be demolished and a new slab poured for the box to sit on. A transitional space between the shop and treatment rooms remains relatively untouched, with paint peeling off the walls and chipped plaster seen throughout with a stainless steel staircase acting as transport between two opposing realms. The store’s treatment rooms contain no windows with views to the world outside, and their stainless steel qualities hold a rather dystopian feel when illuminated by the room’s artificial lighting sources.
The design process was slowed by the pandemic, but not to the point of completely halting it. Mujis would visit the practice to customise structural elements, with both parties testing a number of fixtures before they were implemented. Nearly everything within the store is bespoke, speaking to the meticulousness of the project.
The work completed on the project by both parties has borne fruit to the point where both practice and skincare brand are looking to expand their footprint, with a store for Grown Alchemist in New York on the cards.