As the name Song for the Mute suggests, paradox is never far from the minds of label co-founders Melvin Tanaya and Lyna Ty. So when it came to choosing a location for their first flagship store – the heritage-listed 350 George Street, close to luxury powerhouses Acne Studios, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Tiffany & Co – the strict building guidelines were a challenge rather than a problem.
“We couldn’t touch or change anything in the space,” Ty tells Broadsheet at the store’s official opening. “We weren’t allowed to paint anything, move things. All the fixtures here are mobile and nothing is permanent. But in a way that’s also what we love about it.”
Where other brands might have baulked at these parameters, the duo saw an opportunity to put into practice their philosophy of “accordance through contrast” that inspires the designs of their cult label. Ty gestures to a bright orange cable hanging from the roof. “There was only one power point and we can’t put in any more. The whole store has to be powered from that one outlet.”
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Working with Ty’s long-term partner Karim Gaaloul and Byron Bay-based Pattern Studio (who also developed Three Blue Ducks restaurant at Urbnsurf at Melbourne’s Tullamarine), the team balanced the deconstructed aesthetic of Song for the Mute while paying homage to the original building’s legacy. Two curved, modular pods clad in hot-rolled steel and riveted enamel were created with the dual purpose of change room and display. According to Ty, these mobile structures were inspired by places of transience: bus stops and train stations. It’s a playful juxtaposition from pre-existing pink marble that lines the walls and soaring ceilings above.
“The real breakthrough in the process was during the mundane task of housework. Lyna and Karim were placing household items of varying shapes, textures, finishes and sizes on their kitchen table, and something in the arrangement and proportions and colours struck them – it felt right,” explains Tanaya.
While this might be the brand’s first permanent retail store, it isn’t the first time that Tanaya and Ty have ventured into bricks and mortar. Last year, the brand hosted a pop-up in Paddington, Concept Store 001, which was met with positive responses. “[Song for the Mute has] been around for over 10 years and has a loyal following and strong support base,” says Tanaya. “It’s still considered quite niche to many, but we can confidently say our first flagship store feels like the brand’s new long-term home in Sydney.”
The new store will host the brand’s second collaboration with sneaker giant Adidas Originals, a capsule collection called SFTM x Adidas 002, which arrives in-store on September 22 before a global rollout later in October.
Song for the Mute
350 George Street, Sydney
Mon to Wed 10am-6pm
Thu¬ to Sat 10am-7pm