Independently owned designing and manufacturing jeweller The Village Goldsmith have opened their new retail store, design studio and workshop in Central Wellington this month. The store, three times the size of its predecessor, was designed by the creative team themselves, led by Founder and Creative Director, Ian Douglas. It is a space that speaks of them as artisans, celebrates the New Zealand environment they work in and also reflects the unique character, creativity and originality of the 35 year brand as they continue to succeed and grow in local and international markets.
When The Village Goldsmith Founder, Ian Douglas, envisaged the new store, he imagined a space that reflected the company’s character, creativity and originality. The Village Goldsmith team knew exactly what they wanted in the space, and hence designed it themselves. The store now includes the floor area of the original store, plus the space next door that was once a restaurant. The brick walls that separated the two sites were removed (a feat of engineering in itself!), to create a gallery like expanded space. This gave the creative jewellers and designers a blank canvas to build an unconventional store that combines the international design arm of the business, The Inspired Group, a magnificent new state of the art manufacturing workshop, and a wonderful contemporary retail gallery.
“We finally have the space to enable clients to comfortably move around and to experience the environment in a relaxed and inspiring manner”, says Douglas.
When you first walk in the door of the revamped Village Goldsmith store you don’t encounter any jewellery showcases, rather a beautiful 5 x 3 metre planted living wall. This then leads you into the open plan gallery, where clients can peruse the stand alone showcases from every direction, giving them a more complete jewellery experience.
“Each jewellery showcase stand is a work of art in itself. They’re all different, made from recycled engineering items which have been gloss powder coated and highlighted with polished copper accents”, explains Douglas.
There is a stunning curving staircase of curved glass and American Ash that appears to float past the living wall, leading to the upstairs design studio and boardroom. The ground floor showroom features some design features that took years to bring together. There is a display column of recycled vintage copper and brass fire extinguishers, a massive brass and ash timber chandelier, created from old brass blow torches, farm knapsack sprayers, all brought back to life in an open cone shape that features hidden LEDs within the burners. A mirror covers the western wall, at 3.6 x 2.4 metres, it is the largest piece of individual mirror glass that Douglas could find. This has then been framed with copper sheeting salvaged from the original store.
“Our aim was to give life back to the ingredients we had from the old store. We daily create new items from clients using their treasured family pieces, it just seemed fitting to create new life to those old elements”.
Perhaps the most alluring part of the store is the client ‘chill zone’, a raised bench that features a wonderful huge slab of restored rimu, milled on the West Coast over 80 years ago. Here clients can lean and rest, have a coffee, and watch the jewellers working in the new workshop, which is glass fronted to enable clients to fully appreciate the fact that their jewellery is crafted and cared for on-site, not outsourced to a faceless overseas enterprise.
“What we desired was a space that spoke of us as artisans, as New Zealanders who love our environment and who want to celebrate our special place in the world. We wanted it be very different to what people normally expect in a jewellery store. We think we’ve achieved that”.