Optical Illusions

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PJ. Lobster Optical Boutique by El Departamento

The architecture and interior design studio El Departamento has developed a meticulous work of integral redesign to materialize the last project undertaken by PJ.Lobster, which begins with the opening of its new optical-boutique in the Born district of Barcelona.

Since its birth in 2018, digital-native firm Project Lobster has shaken up the eyewear world. In the last time, the essence of the brand has evolved to consolidate both its e-commerce and its physical sales channel. An organic evolution that, for years, has always relied on the collaboration of the architecture and interior design studio El Departamento for the conceptualization, design and execution of its new stores.

The opening of the brand’s space in the sophisticated Barcelona district of El Born, at number 18 of the Fossar de les Moreres square, just a few meters from the imposing and sculptural cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, perfectly represents the point of maturity in which the brand finds now. To achieve this, the studio directed by Alberto Eltini and Marina Martín has completed a meticulous work of integral redesign of the brand universe starting from the compression of its naming: PJ.Lobster. The new space meets the needs and the technicality of the visual healthcare sector. Thus, the new optical-boutique of the firm is born, setting the basis of a new commercial proposal and store concept. PJ.Lobster Born is only the first of this new generation that they plan to expand in the coming months to new locations such as Barcelona, Madrid or Zaragoza.

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Inspiration: from macro to micro

A concept that has been the natural evolution of the previous Project Lobster spaces designed by El Departamento. Projects in which color, organic shapes and different textures were the common thread of each design. In this new generation of stores, they have chosen to create spaces that enhance the different scales of matter. Clinical and sophisticated spaces that show the user the technique and care implicit in the brand.

From macro to micro. Under this motto, Alberto Eltini and Marina Martín have created an interior design full of personality and character in just 40 square meters. The studio has found inspiration for this innovative space in the short documentary ‘Powers of Ten’ by Charles and Ray Eames for IBM based on Kees Boeke’s book ‘Cosmic View: the Universe in 40 Jumps’. In it, matter is perceived in its different scales through jumps from macro to micro in multiples of ten, finding patterns, similarities and plots that repeat at the extremes: from the zoom out of the Milky Way to the atomic zoom in. This treatment of matter, playing with scale and its definition, with the distances from which we look at it and its essence, has inspired the design of the first store of PJ.Lobster’s second generation of physical spaces.

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Two key concepts: Texturized Minimalism vs Raw High-Tech

In this particular study of textures, from macro to micro and the grain size of matter, El Departamento has found two conceptual paths that translate physically into space: Texturized Minimalism vs Raw High-Tech. Two concepts that, at times, seem antagonistic, but create a vibrant space that swings between the soft and the hard, the rough and the velvety. In this way, the new PJ.Lobster optical-boutique is shown as an almost raw and naked space, minimal in elements and materials, but with a wide range of textures that extends along its walls, floors and ceilings.

The space’s high-tech nature is enhanced by the display shelves, where they are presented in an honest and bold way. The contrast is provided by the central piece of furniture, bright, rounded and imposing in scale, which dominates the main space. This is hosted by the exhibition area that is located in the immediate access to the store. Further on, the second part of the space catches the eye: a waiting area and a dynamic cabinet that closes with a curved green vegan leather curtain to provide privacy to the room. This is where the most technical and sophisticated version of the brand is kept, with instruments for measuring optics and graduation.

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Brutalist materiality

A space of contrasts. The rough materiality with a prominent and irregular stucco becomes the protagonist of the space and an icon of interior design. This is softened by the washed green color that fills the space while providing a sense of calm, comfort and coziness.

Meanwhile, the materials that predominate in this design are the stainless steel of the displays, the microcement of the floor, the vegan leather of the curtain that works as a separator of the different spaces and the pre-existing moldings, all of them finished in that monochrome tone that makes this optical-boutique a memorable space.

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A zoning exercise

El Departamento has created a project based on the zoning of the space. Each of the areas have been carefully studied and delimited to serve each customer in a personalized way: from the exhibition of products to the most intimate area dedicated to visual examinations. Besides, from the window of the optometric cabinet of the space, the user can enjoy a unique panoramic view of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar from a privileged angle.

In this way, El Departamento has managed to blend different atmospheres in this small space. On the one hand, the micro-cement and carpeted floors create a neat and cozy atmosphere. The high-tech character of PJ.Lobster is enhanced in the way the brand’s products are displayed, in the bespoke design of the decorative pieces and furniture, in the technical aspects that represent the visual health and vision care sector and, of course, in the custom-designed lighting project, strengthened with special Marset lights. Furthermore, the most playful and enjoyable part of the space is placed at the service of the user through the whole atmosphere. A timeless, paradigmatic, propositive and bold project that is presented as the starting point of the most imminent future of PJ.Lobster.

HQ Retrato El Departamento

Founded in 2017 by Alberto Eltiniand Marina Martín, El Departamento is an experimental studio with the aim of reevaluating architecture and interior spaces within the historical context, blending contemporary elements with experimentation to challenge established norms and propose a new vision.

Instagram: @eldepartamento.estudio

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