Pink, rust and the Memphis style
Barbara Rourke - Bells&Whistles
What on paper might appear to be a relatively simple project extending over a floor area of just 70 square metres, including service spaces, in reality proved to be not so straightforward. The nature of the challenge was to transform a small shop located in Newport Beach, California into a model of visually-striking interior architecture that would be capable of adequately representing the brand. The shop itself takes the name of the Marrow Fine jewellery brand, which the owners wanted to communicate effectively by evoking a welcoming, luminous atmosphere and conveying a sense of excellence.
The project was assigned to the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Bells&Whistles, whose co-founder and creative director Barbara Rourke oversaw every step in the process from the composition of the space through to the choice of materials and colours. “The Newport Beach store is the second outlet we have designed for the Marrow Fine brand,” she says. “The first was bright and airy, with touches of colour to match the jewelry tones. For this location, we wanted to develop the colour palette to achieve more relaxing and refined tones,” choosing pink and rust as the key colours, she explained.
From a structural perspective, the store already contained a number of curvilinear elements, which were further enhanced through the inclusion of new curved geometries and similarly curved items of furniture. “The use of curves, arches and soft angles allows us to harmonise the space and create an immersive experience. The room is awash with pink, rust and terrazzo-style tiling. Behind the energetic buzz of the eye-candy lies the soothing architecture of the arches – from floor to ceiling, a round grotto for children and a customised counter inspired by the Memphis style, an Italian collective founded by Ettore Sottsass,” continues Barbara Rourke.
The light is also used as a design element and as a means of enhancing the jewellery displayed in the arch-shaped display cases, which through a play of mirrors make every centimetre of these 70 square metres literally sparkle.
No less important was the choice of floor coverings, the second reference to Italian design culture. The terrazzo flooring typically used in Palladian villas has arrived in California in a more contemporary form in terms of both the substrate material (porcelain stoneware) and the size of the decorative elements. “The tile is from Ceramica Fioranese’s I Cocci collection, a selection inspired by floors reclaimed from an early 20th-century country house in northern Italy, and it was love at first sight,” says Barbara Rourke. “When we received the commission for the Marrow Fine store, we knew straight away that this would be the perfect time and place to use it.”