Studio Doherty’s design of Mimco’s new flagship store in Chadstone carries the iconic Australian brand through a transition period. It grounds them in a space that exudes calmness, timelessness and a classic aesthetic. Forget window shopping — this store is a secret sanctuary away from the frantic boxing day shoppers.
Looking to the architecture of Carlo Scarpa, James Birrel and Rye Nishizawa, Mimco Chadstone is a monumental dance of sweeping forms. It’s the big cave in the heart of the fashion capital. The ultimate ‘ahh’ spot.
Its pale green wet-look rendered facade gives the store frontage an unexpectedly soft, warm edge that embraces passing shoppers. Wrapping internally, these walls sculpt towards the back, carrying customers through gracefully and calmly. There are no big signs. No blaring advertisements. Only gentle nudges invite you to delve deeper into the cave. In what Studio Doherty describes as “a scene from Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, this render’s precise colour and finish was a long and collaborative process with their renderer at Bishop’s. Not too much glossiness, not too much wetness… just right.
The texturally rich interior stands as a celebration of Mimco’s products, both past and present. Handcrafted elements such as the matt stucco kickers, skin-toned flooring, blush 3D tiles and mosaic display plinths all reference the heritage colours of the brand. The glossy finish of the render even works with the strategically placed ‘Hinge lights’ by Jordan Flemming. Anyone that has carried a signature Mimco bag before will be familiar with their heritage clasp detail, which these lights have been affectionately named after.
“One of the things we are most proud of is the seamless integration of the entire store as one cohesive piece of joinery,” explains the design team. “We achieved this through continuous curved walls and ceilings, which was a challenging and ambitious approach. The shopfitter, Leeda Projects, did an excellent job bringing our vision to fruition, including fabrication of intricate detailing.” The final space is a naturally carved out sanctuary, with all operational elements cleverly tucked away.
But not everything went peachy (or, should we say, pale greeny?). With retail projects typically moving quickly, supply chain issues forced the Studio Doherty team to alter their usual design processes. Their material approach was informed only by materials that were readily available at the time. While braced with this challenging constraint, juggling ambition versus availability proved to drive Studio Doherty toward successfully creating a beautifully resolved and refined space.
The store truly marks a new era for Mimco. Taking from the core values that had set the brand apart in the 90s, this flagship reclaims the classic Mimco aesthetic by embracing a smorgasbord of hand-crafted materials, delicious textures and monumental sculptural forms. Paired with Studio Doherty’s broader design ethos of creating an atmospheric and enticing retail experience, the store ushers in an invigorating direction for the future of the Australian brand. “It was particularly gratifying to hear that some members of the Mimco team were moved to tears upon seeing the store for the first time,” concludes Studio Doherty’s design team. “You don’t get that sort of feedback every day.”
[Images courtesy of Studio Doherty. Photography by Timothy Kaye.]