Jewellery stores are challenging traditions with homely surrounds that encourage shoppers to linger and gallery spaces that present jewellery like artworks.
Text by Kathryn Bishop
Imagine yourself in a New York apartment; dark stained wood floors and leather ottomans are contrasted by cosy sofas, mohair throws and warm lighting. You curl yourself into an armchair, sip at your coffee and take a closer look at what lies before you — a tray of dazzling Fred Leighton vintage jewellery. While it sounds like a dream way to shop, in fact it’s already a reality.
On America’s West Coast, Irene Neuwirth’s Los Angeles boutique is similarly punctuated by sculptures, artworks and ethnic textiles, each chosen by the jeweller herself. Decorated in pastel tones with a blush velvet sofa and brass fixtures, the shop appeals to independent female shoppers who want to feel at ease — better, at home — while shopping. Neuwirth’s boutique reflects her personal taste and the vibrant asymmetry of her gemstone creations, and its homeliness directly challenge the classic format of jewellery retail. In the spring of 2016, Neuwirth added a kitchen to her L.A. boutique, complemented by a vast wooden table and 10 chairs by Italian designer Gio Ponti. Now, she can entertain clients on a personal level, and in turn they feel part of her colourful life.