Asif Khan

Kite Store

Redchurch Street has changed over the past 20 years from an unknown, semi residential back street to being a mixed-use high street with a mosque, a hotel, an adjacent members club, advertising agency, luxury fashion stores and apartment buildings. A street which exemplifies the changes brought about by the past 20 years of private investment in Shoreditch, new projects here are commonplace. Such projects demand new thinking of model, purpose, and operation.
We were asked to rethink the experience of buying eyewear, a typology traditionally dominated by casual shelf browsing and typified by an over-saturation of choice.
Our project swaps the traditional wall display of frames for a personalised customer experience where specialists select and tailor the frame choice to the individual. The concept changes the customer experience from browsing to consultation.
At Kite a series of fine timber booths offer one-to-one consultation in a semi-private bar setting. Concealed magnetic attachments allow the personal mirrors to be adjusted to the customers preference and adjustable partitions give customers the freedom to decide how private their experience will be and encourage more experimentation with styles. However, this is not an experience of isolation, as dedicated members of staff are on hand to guide you through your choices. Basic human interaction and open conversation becomes key.
The store’s collection of frames is hidden from immediate view, held in the 200 drawers of the bar. A curated selection is carefully prepared and brought out for you. The honesty of experience is reflected in a simple palette of materials. Warm maple for the elements you touch and gather around, and textured bulletin board and etched silver mirrors wrap the existing blockwork walls, creating a tactile minimalism which brings the intricate detailing of the eyewear to foreground.