Transforming an outdated Vancouver jewelry store into a modern and sophisticated space earned Box Interior Design top honours at this year’s IDIBC Awards of Excellence. The design firm’s creative approach for MJ Jewellers won it Best in Show as well as an Award of Excellence.
Box Interiors delivered a purposely restrained and elegant interior for MJ Jewellers – a unique, family owned jewelry boutique that offers exquisite custom handmade pieces. It’s the store’s first major renovation since it opened in 1986.
“The store was in need of a renovation. It was tired and didn’t reflect well on the type of product that was being sold,” says Box Interior Design principal Jay Brooks, adding the renovation was also needed to signify the transition of the store to the next generation of the family and to attract younger shoppers.
The owner’s objective was to rejuvenate the 1,100-square-foot store with a warm and sophisticated interior that would offer new and existing customers a more luxurious experience. Another goal was to better showcase the jewelry and maximize inventory on the floor.
“With it being jewelry, our approach was purposely restrained and quiet because what you really want to do is highlight the product that is there and the product is very small,” explains Brooks. “We wanted it be classic and play off this jewelry box idea.”
The interior features golden wood tones, bronze mirrors and velvet upholstered walls that creates a sense of enveloping of the customer in a contemporary jewel box. The end wall wood panels were also designed to evoke a faceted gemstone.
“The finishes are very simple and straightforward,” describes Brooks. “The use of the blonde oak wood is classic and a perfect foil – backdrop for the jewelry. We also did some interesting detailing in the back wall that flanks the store in that we faceted the wood panelling to give it that look like a piece of cut jewelry.”
Wall and case displays are easy to use by staff, secure and foster more intimate connections with the customer.
By custom designing the cases, furniture and millwork, Box Interiors was able to create a space that is uniquely the owners’. Careful attention to lighting, detailing and classic colours allows the merchandise to be the focus of this inviting room.
Close attention was paid especially to lighting to ensure the product is properly lit and not over lit with dramatic LED lighting, which can give customers unrealistic expectations, according to Brooks.
A custom centre diamond bar provides a place to sit as well as greater connectivity between staff and the customer, while the signature light fixture over the bar is a classic idea in a contemporary expression.
“The diamond bar is the first thing you see and it has a slightly elliptical shape to it – a curviness that is friendly and provides a low key sales way of purchasing a diamond,” says Brooks. “We kept the seating at bar height so people can feel comfortable and sit and chat.”
Through reconfiguring the back of house, some valuable square footage was added to the retail area. A private consultation room was created, which supports the very personal shopping experience customers are looking for when buying high-end jewelry pieces.
Now the interior not only complements the beautiful jewelry but has enhanced the customer’s total experience. This has resulted in increased sales and higher price points.
“At the end of the day, you have to provide the tools for the retailer to sell the product,” says Brooks. “So many times you see environments where you notice the fixtures before the product and that’s a huge mistake.”
Cheryl Mah is managing editor of Design Quarterly magazine.