An eye for design – Morela Okulisti eyewear store
Not far from the graceful mountain scenery of lower Styria, in the midst of rolling vineyards, surrounded by green, dense forests, blue rivers and deep valleys, where the eye can enjoy the beauty at every corner – that is where the city of Maribor, or Marburg an der Drau, is located. The medieval town in the northeastern part of Slovenia – known among wine lovers mostly for the “Alte Rebe”, the oldest vine in the world – attracts a wide variety of people with its charm. This also applies to the team of Otto von Berlin, who have followed a very special call back to their homeland. An optician and ophthalmologist of the very special kind: Morela okulisti.
There was a time when Slovenia was praised in Europe for its unmistakable design. Every architecture lover knows the masterpieces of Joze Plecnik, whose buildings would shape and inspire future generations to follow in his footsteps. This includes Gregor Drobnic, 40 from Vojnik, a small village between Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and Maribor, the 2012 European Capital of Culture. Six years ago, the Slovenian interior designers moved to Berlin to pursue his dream of creating distinctive spaces in a city full of creative potential.
After he founded his interior design start-up Otto von Berlin in 2014, small successes were not long in coming. Drobnic established himself from the King of Coffee Shop to the King of Retail and designed concept stores for Karl Lagerfeld and Bäumler and also gave renowned companies such as BVG and Secret Escapes a new face. Those are the ideal prerequisites, to stage such a brand as Morela okulisti perfectly.
A glance through the new display windows of the Morela okulisti eyewear store reveals the wide variety of glasses on offer, which can be found in all conceivable designs. Here, frames made of titanium, wood or other metals and plastics provide a fashionable perspective. In addition to a wide range of designer glasses, Morela also boasts an additional expertise: that of an eye clinic. So Morela okulisti and the creative agency Renderspace were looking for an interior designer who could realize their vision of a “High-Class-All-in-One” optician – and thus came across the interior designers of Otto von Berlin.
Eyewear Store Interior Design – Morela Okulisti
Located on the first floor of the Europark Shopping Center in Maribor is the 133m2 eyeglass shop, whose journey began at the end of September 2017 with a first draft by Gregor Drobnic. The challenge for the Otto von Berlin team was to make optimum use of every square meter of the room – because space had to be created for 2.000 spectacle frames, a subarea for the eye clinic, a waiting area, storage space, staff area and space for visual merchandising. An ideal use of the room’s functionality was therefore indispensable. Drobnic drew his first inspirations from modern retail designs at Ace&Tate and Mykita –monochrome interior design, divided into blocks that decorate the room like big splashes of color.
But in the conceptualization of the design, the Otto von Berlin team noticed another feature that was to be transposed throughout the room as a fundamental idea. By placing the glass cube on the curve of the room, an iris was created – the reflections of the various glasses created an interesting spectacle, which immediately captivated all visitors of the Europark and encouraged them to enter.
The eyewear store from Morela okulisti offers many different highlights and captivates with its monochrome design. In addition to quality, the materials used were mainly of origin. Since the tradition of Slovenian craftsmanship and interior design was to be lived in this room, the team relied on regional service providers: Forbo Linoleum floor in a herringbone shape, ceiling color in a powdery rose and fine brass elements. Only with the wallpaper one has been replaced by crafts art from Belgium and imported herringbone wallpaper in “Jägergrün” by Arte.
Further color accents were cleverly chosen to underline the main color “powdery rose”. A burgundy red velvet couch by Made was implemented in the waiting area, while two mustard yellow armchairs – also made of velvet – adorn the entrance area. Beside the velvet armchairs, occasional tables by Tom Dixon were implemented. A grey carpet from Hey completes the entrance area. However, the staff should feel just as comfortable and can find space on Norman Copenhagen’s bar chairs.
The exhibition area captivates visitors with its interesting design: elegant brass, with its golden shimmer, combined with herringbone wallpaper in hunter’s green and a warm oak wood color, whose floor pattern also links to the herringbone of the wallpaper, mesmerize when entering the room.
The flagship store in Maribor shows how closely the subject of eyeglasses and optician’s shops is linked to technological innovations that influence spatial planning and store design. Whereas most eyeglass shops tend to hide their technical equipment – or, in the case of Morela, their eye clinic – in the back room, Otto von Berlin stages their diagnostic and technical competence on the sales floor, making it a unique selling point.
The innovative store format shows what’s possible. At Morela okulisti, the measuring rooms with diagnostic equipment are placed prominently in a glass cube for customers to see and observe. Despite the transparency, customers feel protected in the room during the consultation. In this way, Morela preserves the almost lost manufacturing charm of the 1980s.
“I love lines and, above all, perspectives. For this reason, we have paid particular attention to the meticulous transport of lines when carrying out Morela. Almost everything is connected with two points that form a line. The glass cube is at the same height as the glasses displays, the drawers are at a height with the tables and so on”, says Gregor Drobnic.
Beside the lines Drobnic also the visual merchandising was very important. After a long hard winter, a nature theme was chosen for the product placement, which greets the visitor with the lush, lush greenery that the Maribor countryside offers in all its variations.
Morela gets the final touch with its new corporate identity, created with the help of the creative agency Renderspace. It was not only the logo that received a new shine, but also the choice of colors was meticulously chosen to reflect various elements of the corporate concept.
And so this little trip to Lower Styria ends for the time being. The Otto von Berlin team has retreated back to their new adopted home in Neukölln to work on the next concepts – and is still dreaming of Maribor’s vineyards.
Text: Aleksandar Kovacevic – Talk To Aleks
Fotos: Miran Kambic
Design + Execution: Otto von Berlin
Creative Direction: Renderspace
Client: Morela okulisti