On the south side of Melbourne, designer Ryan Russell of Russell & George has recently completed a bright, playful space for Australian bag maker Crumpler, their twelfth store in Australia. What immediately makes the store stand out is the grid of fluorescent lights that defines the ceiling and moves down the walls of the retail space. The lights are big, looking almost like the largest and most fragile K’Nex project you’ve ever seen.
Almost everything inside the store is grey, from the walls and curtains behind the glowing tubes, to the rocks on the floor, and to the moving images thrown on the walls by projectors in the space. The limited palette not only makes the colorful bags stand out but also contributes to the overall effect of the space: that it is a sophisticated optical illusion. And the optical illusion of the lights and their infinite reflections is compelling. Why else would folks dressed so well wander around the store wearing 3-D glasses?