"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players"
The curtains have just opened on Lulamae's new fashion boutique in Melbourne Central. There was a cast of highly talented players involved in its production and my illustrations took a supporting role.
Lulamae is a fashion boutique of unique, handpicked designs, shoes and accessories from around the world as well as jewellery from local Melbourne artists. The Melbourne Central outlet is their third permanent store, and a follow up from their Melbourne Central pop-up shop. Like the other Lulamae boutiques this shop provides a fun, engaging and unique customer experience through well designed shop fit out and great stock. This one is styled as a live theatre set!
Lulamae delivers a marvellous performance as a theatre set, taking the customer on a journey past the stage front and across the boards, to where they can browse, try and buy amidst the glamour and drama of the backstage environment. Then dressed in a splendid new outfit the customer is ready for their cue to step forth and appear on the great stage of the world. Bravo! Bravo! What a show.
The concept for this exciting customer experience came from the owners of Lulamae. The elegant, playful shop fit out was designed by Breathe Architecture and built by Ficus Constructions. My role was to work with both Lulamae and Breathe to illustrate and create digital artwork to be printed as the theatre front, stage prop trees, and the backdrop.
The base art for the design was drawn with pen and ink, using supplied style reference of an old Czechoslovakian toy theatre. With some serious digital tinkering and collaborative design input from Lulamae, Breathe and myself this ink drawing was extrapolated into psd files of large pixelated folk art motifs and trees. The resulting art is contemporary and exciting, maintains a warmth and humanity, and is graphically honest about being digitally printed. The artwork speaks of taking inspiration from the old and interpreting afresh for the present day.
Once designed the pixelated folk art and tree imagery was split apart into 1200mm x 2400mm sized files and printed by bubble-jet onto large plywood sheets. The printing was handled quickly and with professional ease by a can-do crowd called Prologica. The printed plywood shapes were then cut by saw and by CNC router, and assembled on location.
As far as the architects or I know this is the first time anyone has used bubble-jet on large ply sheets - thrilling, yet nerve wracking, as until our test prints came back we weren't sure what the quality of the outcome would be. Fortune and careful file construction smiled upon us - it printed beautifully from the first.
The project was highly challenging and lots of fun thanks to its developmental, experimental nature. It was a real treat working with the aesthetically savvy staff of Breathe Architecture and their smart, constructive feedback. It was also exciting working with Lulamae's well thought out customer experience.
Collaboration - it is so where it's at.
Lulamae can be found on Level 2 Melbourne Central. So if you happen to be in the area pop in for a look and perhaps a little retail therapy.