The Inspiration Behind Aretê 2.0

With the design of Aretê, as with the branding, I wanted it to have a bit more to it than the minimalist feel of the last shop and branding.

I started as I do with most things with trying to gather a mood board and saving all my inspirations to an album.

I began by researching what social places won interior design awards in London and all around Europe and then I looked into their designs. One thing they all had in common was that they all had some kind of theme as opposed to following current design trends. This made me rethink how I was going to decorate our own place. What ‘theme’ could we go with? And then it became apparent, we already have an amazing theme with our business; Ancient Greek and Early Roman.

This sparked a flourish of new thinking and ideas to get into. I began by researching Early Roman and Greek interiors drawing inspiration from the tapestries and geometric patterns of these generations along with the regal columns/arches and big leaf plants. 

I started to gather research on colour palettes used in the Early Roman / Greek eras to give myself an idea of what colours could work for us and what would make a statement that aligns with our new branding.

The one huge problem with trying to recreate the interiors of emperors is the cost! All that marble and gold would soon swallow up a budget so I decided to start trying to tie it into a more achievable finish. This prompted more research into modern pop culture and looking at the filmmaker Wes Anderson’s colour palettes and designs of his films. He always manages to make even the least wealthiest of his characters “cool” . The colour scheme for the basement is based solely off the filmmakers colour palettes as I realised they are somewhat similar to the Early Roman colour palette.

With all this inspiration and more I thought I would start trying to sketch out some ideas onto paper and visualise a final result. We took these (very basic) sketches to our Shopfitter Guy Needham, owner of Tailored Spaces, and he began to explain ways we could make this work. We decided to have Guy make our units bespoke, to fit the space perfectly, as we wanted floor to ceiling bookcase style units.

With the exterior of the shop I always knew I wanted to give it a similar colour to the interior of Gucci Osteria in Florence after my friend visited there and made me aware of it, so I began to follow their Instagram for inspiration. Another friend pointed out Louis Vuitton also famously did their pop-up shop in New York City a similar colour.

Months of research has moulded itself into a concept, a concept we believe has encapsulated the direction the brand is heading in. By fusing all these ideas and adding ideas of our own we’re hoping we’ve created a unique and comfortable environment to enjoy having your image cared for.

Words by Matt Dryden