Retail / CBD, Sydney / 2017


Located in the subterranean depths of Sydney’s iconic QVB, iKOU is a disarming and unexpected sanctuary of calm in a busy city

Project Overview

  • Project iKOU QVB
  • Location CBD, Sydney
  • Year 2017
  • Category Retail

Our concept for iKOU – a holistic, ethically sourced, luxury skincare brand– sought to translate their philosophy of ‘encouraging mindful and relaxing moments inspired by nature’ spatially to elicit a similar innate response. The brief called for a clinical yet inviting haven in the bustle of the city. Our intervention seeks to meet these seemingly competing agendas through the creation of seamless spatial experiences and interactions, clearly zoned through planning and materiality - where the world of science meets nature.

Nestled in the dimly lit lower ground floor of the QVB with countless commuters rushing in haste to and from work, the store has been designed to act like a glowing mirage that passers-by stumble upon; disarming, enchanting, and inviting. An interlude of pause in a tranquil setting. The striking contrast between mall and store is intended to trigger an awakening, a desire to envelop oneself in a space that offers a unique sensory experience taking in light, sound, smell and touch.

Layout & Materiality

Two distinct but intertwined zones define the customer experience: products displayed on brightly lit perimeter wall shelving (Product Display Zone) encircle a centrally located, overflowing interactive zone (The Arbour).

Product Display Zone
A U-shaped wall provides a continuous path around the store perimeter, drawing customers into its depths and around the other side. The zone is decidedly bright, clean and white with meticulously balanced, fully illuminated shelving casting the illusion of floating on air. The shelving system is seamless, highly refined and unembellished.

The Arbour
Amidst this glow lies The Arbour, a structure cascading with greenery and bathed in expansive light, conjuring the feel of an outdoor garden. The Arbour is the heart and soul of the store; where interactions between staff and customers take place (POS counter, feature basin, feature fragrance, consultation and testing stations), allowing people to luxuriate in a moment of respite. The functional cylindrical objects within feature a carefully curated materials palette including timber stump podiums and stack of Blue Mountains limestone (a nod to the brand’s home base).