Ofist creates a unique retail and hospitality design concept for eyewear brand Eye-D that defies gravity and convention. Responding to the brief for a multifunctional space to serve as a blogger spot, art gallery, café, and music venue – while giving retail its due floor area and focus – Ofist founders Yasemin Arpac and Sabahattin Emir turn to an unexpected material to offer visitors a cohesive and unforgettable experience. 505 cork yoga blocks float overhead, while a long cork communal table descends from the ceiling.

At the entrance, a white metal framework illuminated by tinted lighting creates an atmospheric liminal zone between the interior and the surrounding city – a strategic approach stemming from the designers’ goal of bringing urban environments back down to a human scale. Working outward from this approach, Ofist achieves an intimate design that emphasizes the individual as well as social interaction.

With a playful interior to match its brand identity, the Eye-D store – proudly declaring itself a ‘Rayban-free’ space – is part of a notable shift in the contemporary eyewear industry. Previously considered cumbersome and uncool objects to address a handicap, eyewear is now a fashion accessory and tool of self-expression. The store emphasises this reformation by bringing boldness and originality to the forefront through its multifunctional areas, erotic artwork, and repurposed ceiling installation of yoga blocks with integrated luminaires. A large communal table laminated in cork also hangs from the structure with four thin cables, giving the entire space an upward movement and sense of weightlessness – appropriate given the lightweight nature of the material.

This soft cork is contrasted with perforated iron panels that line the walls and serve as a minimalist display system for the eyewear, art and décor. The overall airiness and ubiquitous application of commonplace materials is a welcome departure from the intimidating luxury of high-end stores. The aesthetic communicates an open, inviting space that brings together shoppers, art enthusiasts, café-goers, or simply passersby intrigued by the quirky interior.