Curating a selection of Britain’s most sustainable beauty brands, big. recently opened its doors in Victoria Park. Designed by award-winning Nina+Co, who specialise in radical materiality and ethical interior design, the space is inspired by the minerals and ingredients used in natural skincare including clay, seaweed and mushroom extracts.
Nina+Co have endeavoured to source materials as responsibly as possible, including a selection of salvaged elements from Retrouvius stock. Every material has been handled with the greatest respect to minimise or eliminate waste and to revive waste into beautiful objects of greater value. Raw stone edges, metal patination, and earthy tones are blended with soft, oversized, rounded forms to a calming effect.
The design incorporates reclaimed travertine, re-worked metal shelving and reclaimed iroko sourced from Retrouvius.
A feature has been made of the rough edged travertine, which sits on top of locally-salvaged plasterboard. The stone was deliberately maintained in large, rough-edged slabs in a bid to reduce waste and retain integrity for future re-use.
The shelving was originally used within industrial shelving units salvaged by Retrouvius from the Patent Office. In this context, metal was deemed a superior material choice to wood as it allows more air circulation, lower humidity and reduces the risks of mould in paper.
Other intriguing materials sourced by Nina+Co include seaweed bio-textile curtains, mycelium plinths, cork, UK-grown hemp and irish linen… all biodegradable and consciously sourced.
The outcome of this depth of thought and considered craftsmanship is a space where each area tells a story of material exploration and experimentation; a space that offers a sense of provenance, connection and reverence for the natural components of the skincare products on offer.
Photography by Anna Batchelor