Occupying a space formerly held by Modern Journal in the somewhat abandoned end of High Street, Perimeter is a beautifully curated shop of rare books and small press. It settled rather circumstantially, filling a gap that still sees the distributer operating from out the back, passing occasionally, as Dan puts it, "a goldmine of books through the separating curtain".
Yet the majority of design books and small press are personally selected by Dan and his wife Justine before being sat, face out, on simple shelving that decorates the white canvas walls with an explosive hit of colour. Meanwhile, doors turned into contemporary desks displaying uncommon titles and a collection of potted plants that aims to bring warmth and "avoid that austere gallery feel".
It’s minimal, but charming. Drawing upon a mix of Japanese aesthetics, Perimeter presents itself in a style that is "half architectural, half handmade and contemporary enough to let the books do the talking," Dan explains. These books arrive from a range of local and international publishers, and include rarities from houses such as NoBrow (London), PostEditions (Rotterdam) and Nieves (Switzerland).
Dan highlights Bad Couples, by LA-based artist Nicola Pecoraro, as a personal favourite, describing it as "small press at its best". This simple publication endears itself to you with its strikingly awkward and naively painted faces that are now in the hands of Perimeter's first non-friend customer.
"These books would get lost in a mainstream bookstore," Dan notes, speaking about what could almost be viewed as his personal library. I am informed of the visual and tactile beauty in each and every publication as he delicately turns the crisp pages, identifying the varying stocks and stitched bindings in a way that naturally hints at his other business venture: a small publishing company called And Collective, who publish the Erm Books imprint, which he runs with wife, Justine, and friend and illustrator, Marc Martin.
"We really believe in this form of design," says Dan, backing up their self-confessed obsession with publishing, which leads nicely into their planned in-store exhibition space that will promote artists with a relationship to the printed form. Coming up we can expect to see temporary shows from talents such as Marc Martin, Unchalee Anantawat, Louis Porter, Oliver Mann and Oslo Davies. For now, close friend and photographer Michelle Tran graces the behind-the-counter wall space with her prominent tableau-style photos.
So what else can we expect from Perimeter? "We'd like to become almost like an inspirational hub: a place where people can gather, meet and enjoy this space," Dan says.
It’s hard not to be humbled by his passion for the printed form. There's no doubt that Dan has a distinct knack for selecting and curating books which, paired with his openness to discovering new artists and publications, will no doubt fuel the future direction for Perimeter and decorate many-a Melbourne coffee table with something just a bit more special and unique.
748 High Street, Thornbury
(03) 9484 8101