Bill Tikos, founder of globe-trotting design blog The Cool Hunter, is turning his discerning eye onto the creation of an inspiring shopping experience. The Cool House is a grand showcase of design ingenuity that shifts the focus of visual merchandising from shop window to shop floor.
“Cool House is curated like a museum,” says Tikos, sitting in the Rokeby Studios in Collingwood where a range of homewares, designer accessories and furniture will take centre stage for four days. The man who is so passionate about a visual world is refreshingly self-effacing. “I am daggy,” he says, although he is clearly anything but, “I live in jeans and t-shirts.”
When asked about the curious timing of his weekend pop-up aligning with the Design Files’ Open House, Tikos is quick to point out it was not his intention to compete with Lucy Feagins’ event. "I booked Rokeby Studios four months ago and when I found out my event coincided with Lucy’s, I emailed her to explain it was coincidental,” he says. “I really think people will come to both events.”
Tikos sees The Cool Hunter as reflecting what’s happening in the world right now; it’s capturing the zeitgeist rather than being trend-driven as such, and the physical reality of The Cool House echoes that approach.
The creative aesthetic was created by Daniel Frigo, Art Director at Things Project, who has transformed Tikos’ love of colour into a vibrant paradise that offers welcome respite from the experience of gawking at the world through the lens of a computer screen. Fleur’s florist in Armadale has sculpted a ‘pencil-case’ floral installation, and outré neon cubes hang down like clouds in geometric heaven.
While there is a distinct focus on Australian-made designs, an overarching European design sensibility permeates the space. Brands represented read like an architect or designer’s bucket list of desirables: Zuster furniture, Loom hand-made rugs, Hay tableware, Jardan, and French artist Francoise Nielly’s metallic, perspex-coated prints all sit alongside each other like cross-continental temptresses inducting us into a world of modern, exuberant style.
Here and there you will see tableauxs that offer a portal into a dream reality. In the backroom, Sonia Rykiel striped bath towels are draped beside a luxurious Rogerseller freestanding bathtub, and the promise of ambience offered by Tom Dixon candles is enough to soften the most hardened cynic.
The Cool House is open Thursday November 29 - December 2 from 10am-6pm.
1/90-94 Rokeby Street, Collingwood