A brutalist-inspired green monochrome space is the home of eyewear brand PJ.Lobster’s latest physical outpost, designed by El Departamento.
Design studio El Departamento has continued its long-standing collaboration with optical boutique PJ.Lobster for the design of the brand’s store in Barcelona’s Born district. The retailer, which started out online, has evolved into an omnichannel platform with plans to expand to other physical locations throughout Spain. The 40-sq-m store continues on the design language of previous stores, also designed by the studio, each of which emphasizes colour, organic shapes and diverse textures.
The space is divided into two main areas, a product display section at the front and a private evaluation area at the back, separated by a curved vegan green leather curtain to give privacy for eye tests and fittings. It borrows brutalist influences, with rough stucco covering the space’s walls. The jagged surface is softened by a washed green hue that monochromatically dresses the space. Microcement floors cover the product display area while plush carpet provides a softer environment in the evaluation space. Stainless steel displays and mirrors surrounded by bright LED lighting allude to the brand’s calculated, medical approach while a soft-edged green cube with a mirrored tabletop occupies the centre of the store, providing additional display space. Glass doors cover the full storefront, providing views of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar.
Eyewear brands sit at the intersection of retail and healthcare spaces; eyeglasses, though utilitarian at their core, can be one of our most personal items not only serving as an extension of our bodies but making a statement to others about our sense of style and self. Because of their role as medical devices and fashion items, the way in which people shop for them varies from other clothing or accessories retailers. El Departamento’s intervention effectively communicates this balance to shoppers by designing the space to simultaneously display the brand’s clinical professionalism and cultivate an attractive retail environment that exudes its identity. This is especially important for online-native brands like PJ.Lobster. The design reiterates the importance that physical space plays in accommodating shoppers’ needs while also communicating a brand’s vision.