Set in a UNESCO listed ‘White City’ period building, we designed Glassworks, with more in likening to a cafe, bar or gallery than a conventional retail space.
Sensitive to the buildings intrinsic values, we maintained the existing grand proportions, high-ceilings, open plan, large windows and abundance of natural light to provide a casual and colourful space at home among Tel Aviv’s famous restaurants and bars.
We wanted the space to be inviting, a place to gather and relax and, an extension of Tel Aviv’s pedestrian, outdoors culture, a kind of interior plaza, a place for a coffee or a cold drink. Somewhere where both our staff and our clients alike would be happy to hang out.
A minimal white steel structure houses our library of frames and delineates the functional areas whilst maintaining an open plan and a casual / flexible space. Gallery-style curation and museum lighting are used throughout to capture the details of individual frames and showcase our passion – independent eyewear. Our HQ also houses two examination rooms (one accessible), a lens cutting laboratory, office space and a large inventory and fulfilment area.
“The optometry process is considered a treatment to look forward to beginning with a drink, cleanse, and refresh from the hot bustling city.”
Our optometry exam spaces (normally a clinical backroom) are a celebrated part of the spatial hierarchy to ensuring a pleasurable and relaxing atmosphere throughout the journey.
The space is more intimate, to ensure an uninterrupted consultation with the optometrist in an environment with highly controlled lighting. Latest technology equipment is arranged sequentially and ergonomically. Refined processes, high ceilings and natural light ensure a non-traditional eye exam experience.
The white steel colonnade or Library pays homage to the ‘White City’ and the regional International Style, whilst the warm stone and plaster draw from the old stone hues of ancient Jaffa and Hebron. The use of exterior and durable materials enhances the sensation of public space and the continuation of the outdoor environment inside. The Architecture (like the eyewear) uses both traditional techniques and local craftsmen as well as innovative international building technologies for fixtures and fittings such as lighting, solar shading and optometry equipment. Where possible we employed local materials and craftsmen, all the tiles where custom specified and hand made in Tel Aviv and the various plaster techniques are typical of traditional Middle Eastern architecture.
As well as the fixed timber joinery and stone masonry, where possible we designed bespoke objects to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the store. We designed and fabricated bespoke timber glasses trays for easy transportation of frames to clients and to the lab. We also designed and cast in-house our 'hero' glasses plinths which double up as brand markers. We also worked with a local pottery workshop to collaborate for our hand basins and coffee and espresso cups.
This architectural process utilised a combination of both CAD for construction drawings and large scale hand drawings and models and paintings for both process, presentation and documentation.