Independent opticians, Eye Emporium, redesigns flagship store


London’s largest group of independent opticians, Eye Emporium, has redesigned its flagship John High store in Faversham, Kent. The new store mixes contemporary and traditional design features to offer modern facilities echoing the look and feel of the historic market town.

The John High chain of opticians, which has been retailing in the area for over 50 years, became part of the Eye Emporium Group last year and the flagship Faversham branch is the first of the stores to receive a complete refurbishment.

Designed by bespoke shop fitting consultants, BAPTT, the new John High Faversham store features updated practice rooms, a brand new shop front and an inviting reception area with a larger display section for frames. The shop floor also has areas for a new style consultation service, which will be offered to patients looking for advice on the latest fashions and the best frames for their faces.

The main focal point of the design is a distinctive air graphic image, replicated from a black and white postcard of the town taken in the 1920s. Visible from the store’s exterior, the picture attracts a lot of attention from pedestrians.

Commenting on the design, Mohmood Juma, director at Eye Emporium, said: “As the busiest store with the largest patient base, Faversham is the first of our John High branches to be refurbished. Having had a presence in Faversham town centre for over 50 years, it was important that the store echoed the town’s history and remained very much a part of the townscape.

“Having established close relationships with our patients, we also understand that there is a growing trend for more distinct eyewear, therefore increasing the display areas to include a wider selection of fashionable and boutique frames was important. In addition, we are launching a style consultation service to help patients choose the latest fashions to suit their lifestyle, so this also needed to be reflected in the final design.”

Amy Ashman, interior designer at BAPTT, said: “Based on the brief, our design preserved the store’s individuality and history, while maintaining a modern and functional design. The building had a number of original features and we took a lot of inspiration from the shop front, which displayed lovely mouldings from the joinery. The real show-stopping design element, however, is the black and white postcard we found in the local library. Keen to incorporate the image, we enlarged it to cover one of the interior walls; visible from the outside, the image is a feature of intrigue for passers by.”