Adam Kane Architects was engaged to design a new contemporary bridal boutique in South Melbourne. ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster was chosen by Adam Kane as part of a refined and minimalist palette, each material carefully selected to create a stunning foundation to the boutique.

ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster walls not only maximise the space but also give a contemporary blanched aesthetic to this refined and elegant space.

What was the client’s vision for the project?

The Mariana Hardwick boutique is an iconic luxury bridal fashion designer brand, and was looking to downsize to a heritage Victorian hotel in the heart of South Melbourne. Moving into a smaller space, it was critical for the brand to maintain its luxury profile, whilst also standing out from its countless competitors, through not just quality of product, or better service, but through a more enjoyable user experience of the space and process.

How did you bring this concept to life?

Taking inspiration from museums and European luxury boutiques, the use of a simple yet refined palette paired with a new take on the ‘typical’ bridal store layout has resulted in a reimagined luxury shopping experience.

An elegantly minimal and refined palette has been utilised through materials such as white concrete, and ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster. These were carefully chosen to create a stunning foundation, whilst also allowing for the collection of gracefully beautiful gowns to truly shine.

What were some essential design considerations?

An immediate observation upon the first site visit (pre-design), was the north facing service yard. Whilst previously disused, the architect saw this as an opportunity to turn this into a beautiful courtyard, for the rear of the boutique to open onto.

With the entrance on the south side of the building, new garden-facing steel framed windows now provided not only a view through the building, but also created an opportunity for plaster walls to sheen and shimmer from the back-lit garden. What could have been a dark, ‘back of house’ change room area, was now a beautifully lit destination, which became the setting for the feature fitting rooms. These private, circular spaces hero the boutique and expertly set the stage for each bride who enters, and aims to truly heighten the immediate experience of the fitting for such a significant item of clothing.

ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster was used throughout. What were the advantages?

The architect believes that to maximise the experience of the ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster’s properties, the material should be lit from the opposite viewing angle. By having the entrance and reception area at the south, and having the walls lit from the north, it was able to create a beautiful mottled sheen which draws the user into the space. It reflects the light and changes reflectivity as you walk through. The product also has a beautiful refined, pure and timeless feel, which was the perfect option for the client’s brief and product.

What was your favourite aspect of the project?

Working on a bridal boutique, the immediate thought was to use multiple layers of white. The white ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster, white exposed aggregate concrete floors, white linen change rooms, white dresses, and of course, the lighting.

None of these materials are anything ‘new’, but we were able to layer them throughout the space to create a sense of balance and elegance, without simply being a plain white store.

What are some of the more unique interior features?

The ROCKCOTE Venetian Plaster walls cast reflections throughout the showroom, enchantingly bringing the foliage from outside in, and punctuating the all-white interior with fleeting moments of green.

Photography: Tom Blachford