Crisp, minimalist and clinical contemporary store architecture, combining visual axis with the excitement of flowing space and media technology, ensure that the Mellins i-Style ZEISS in Fourways, Johannesburg by Roodt Architects became the first of its kind in Africa.

The brief called for a design that would establish a flagship practice for Mellins i-Style, incorporating the concept and design guidelines provided by the German Labor Weltenbau Architectural Design Company. This entailed the redesigning of the current workflow to incorporate state-of-the-art instrumentation including the ZEISS i-Profiler, i-Terminal and conventional eye-test spaces. The practice is the first of its kind in Africa and also the largest of Mellins i-Style’s 52 branches in South Africa.

The concept for this store is based on the idea of a functional exhibition space that would highlight the delicate design of the optical objects on display. The gallery-type space refocuses the experience of the client from visiting a traditional space akin to medical consulting rooms to a space where an exciting interactive experience awaits them. The ZEISS experience affords the client an accurate eye pre-testing sequence and frame selection.

The installation had to be effected within four weeks, delivering the required quality within the constrained timeframe, challenging as it was, was overcome with effective planning and management.

The success of the project lies not only in visual or functional terms, but also in terms of its ability to attract a large number of new customers. In our view, this underscores the notion that good design adds value to just about all commercial concern.

We are also gratified by the positive response from ZEISS International, as the design and workmanship are evaluated in terms of the standards employed in Germany and dictated by the concept architects.

* Adapted from Cocking, G. (2013) ‘Mellins i- Style Zeiss Experience’. Leading Architecture and Design Magazine, March/April. p. 24-26