Social media informs the design of a London eyewear store by ALEKSA Studio


Nicholas Worley

Lined in blue velvet and with accents of polished brass and mirrored glass, the bijou boutique created by London-based architect ALEKSA Studio for eyewear retailer For Art’s Sake is reminiscent of a jewel box. It is an aesthetic “targeted at millennial shoppers”, says architect Aleksa Rizova, and reflective of the intricate spectacle frames displayed within.

“For Art’s Sake rose to prominence on social media and it was crucial that the physical experience of the shop encourages visitors to share photos across digital platforms”, says the architect. “The design of the store is therefore part of a wider online marketing strategy to engage with new audiences”.


The store occupies a small unit within the former vegetable market halls in Covent Garden, and has entrances on two sides – one opening onto the Central Avenue arcade, and the other onto the main piazza.


Inside, mirrors are carefully deployed to make the compact space feel larger, as well as allowing customers to check the appearance of their glasses. Ribbed wall-linings are covered in blue velvet so that they resemble pleated curtains. The fabric and its colour are a direct reference to the packaging of For Art’s Sake frames, and the pastel shade calculated to appeal to the store’s target audience (as are the inclusion of a selfie station and ‘Instagram spots’. Blue is also used for the vinyl floor.

Products are displayed on bespoke display cases, with velvet-upholstered bases and glossy white timber shelves with arched mirrored brass supports. The brasskwork was inspired by the structure of the market hall’s iron roof structure, and by arched brick facade and window reveals. the Large display units are carved into the walls and feature faceted and tilted round mirrors, floating shelves and mirror finish brass reveals and skirtings.

Brass is also used for decorative ceiling panels and light fixtures. Additional LED strip lighting is integrated in the underside of shelves.

A sister store designed by the same architect, in the same style, recently opened in Xiantiandi shopping centre, Shanghai, and further openings are planned in locations including Miami.

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