Tracton Optometrists in Bondi Junction, Sydney, has been shortlisted for an Interior Design Excellence Award (IDEA). Australia’s largest and most successful independent design awards program, IDEA was launched by inside magazine in 2003 to celebrate the best of Australian interior and product design across 14 categories and six Special Awards.
Tracton Otometrists has been nominated in the retail category. With interiors designed by Conrad Perry of Perry Design, the independent practice on Oxford Street, adjacent to Westfield, has a glazed shopfront entry, frame displays at the front and two consult rooms at the rear of the premises.
Optometrist Daniel Tracton deliberately chose to establish the practice on the street rather than in a shopping mall telling mivision, “The High Street is ideal for me… they are generally better value and come with more freedom.
“At 50m2, it is the perfect space for my dream practice. We have an exceptionally high ceiling and very wide shop front which gives us good visibility from the street and abundant natural light. Clever design ideas have maximised the space for frame display and ensured the space works well for patient flow. Good placement of drawers and cupboards also assist with practical functionality.”
Conrad Perry said when designing the practice, clientele experience was top of mind.
“Tracton Optometrists wanted a classic feel but I didn’t want to go down the path of standard cornices and mouldings – I wanted to use real timbers, so it felt warmer, and more authentic.
“Optometry is all about vision, selling glasses – so lighting is important. I was conscious to ensure every display was well illuminated so the displays and frames would glow with vibrancy.”
Mr Perry said another important consideration was to ensure customers could move freely around the space.
“We were working with a smallish, awkward space. Getting order to the floorplan and creating symmetry helped to make the space feel calm.”
Australian building standards dictate turning circles for wheelchairs, something Mr Perry used to his advantage by creating an oval lobby, from a formerly rectilinear space, that separates the retail space from the consult rooms.
“Having the retail space at the front and consult rooms at the back enabled me to create drama by designing an oval lobby. You move through the display area at the front of house, and into the lobby at which point you can go into consult rooms to the left and right.”
With plenty of equipment to fit into the consulting rooms, all of which needed cabling and switches, he said this part of the interior design was most challenging.
“It was a planning exercise – a bit like a Tetris puzzle – to ensure everything would be accessible for the optometrist and the room would be accessible for anyone who is mobility impaired or in a chair.
Mr Perry said one of the greatest challenges with the project was the materials shortage and price rises that occurred, during the build, because of COVID.
“It would have been easy to swap some of the more expensive materials out for replicas, but Daniel understood that the authentic experience of being in the shop was critical for his patients/ customers, and so was happy not to cut corners.”
IDEA winners will be determined by the jury, with winners announced at the IDEA Gala Party in November.