A beautiful new flagship store on Front Street is a dream come true for jewellery designer Alexandra Mosher.
Every day is dreamy!” gushed jewellery artist Alexandra Mosher about her spectacular new flagship retail store and working studio now located on Front Street.
Located in the Vallis & Hayward building where Otto Wurz used to be, the artist brought together a team of like-minded designers to transform the dated and dark space to an award-winning one that overflows with romantic, vintage charm, and just enough sparkle. With Mosher taking the lead on the aesthetic design, Vanessa Daniel took charge of project coordination and architectural designs while Catherine White created the initial retail spatial layouts. Artist Nikki Murray-Mason was brought on to create the stunning logo mosaic mural outside the entrance of the store, and interior designer Jenn Butterworth installed the window treatments.
“I had a very strong sense of what I wanted and have always been a DIY-er,” explained Mosher. “Working with Vanessa and Catherine— both longtime friends who really ‘get me’—was absolutely wonderful. I pulled together a 65-page document of ideas and my best thoughts on the layout, and they helped me edit those ideas into the space you see today. Vanessa specialised in the fundamentals—space allocation in the back half of the space (the studio), working with budget and proposals, coordinating the contractors, permits and red tape. Catherine and I worked on the retail layout, played with the floor levels, colours and textures, the bar, and how the space would impact customer experience. In the end, it is a bit of a blur who did what—it all came together so well!”
“It’s always fun to collaborate,” said Daniel. “It becomes an exercise in ‘what if we do this?’ and ‘how about if we try something like that?’ Creative people who understand and appreciate the design process make the project an artistic adventure. It makes all of the long, late-night hours worthwhile.”
The 700 square feet of retail space was designed to showcase Mosher’s signature pink sand and Bermuda-inspired jewellery in the front, while just over 1,000 square feet of combined office, studio, client-meeting area and storage space is accessed behind custom-made French doors in the back. The back of house was designed not only to be functional for the staff but also to be a space where visitors can experience the creation process.
“The move to a Front Street location was both significant and symbolic to the young jewellery designer who derives inspiration from motifs found in Bermuda’s flora and fauna, the ocean, architecture, history and culture,” said Daniel. “As one of the only truly made-in-Bermuda retailers, Alexandra has transformed her sought-after tiny treasures business from craft to upscale in a matter of a few years. As such, she recognises the importance of pulling back the curtain to see how it is done and provide a peek into the ideas, evolution and implementation process of design.
“In an age of internet shopping, the studio space becomes an interactive experience that shows the magic of how Alexandra’s jewellery is made.”
While the studio is certainly as beautiful as it is functional, the retail side has a distinctly luxe, residential feel. “Alexandra’s brand references a magical wonderland,” said Daniel. “It was important for the design to feel soft, comfortable and creative.”
By using soft lighting, draping fabric and muted tones of grey, white and pink throughout the store, the residential feel they were trying to achieve “really works well,” said one of our judges. “The thought that went into the detail is incredible,” added another.
The flooring was another big part of creating that sophisticated, residential feel, said Daniel. “We used a Karndean LooseLay vinyl tile flooring in the retail store because it allowed for a reasonably quick installation, has a luxurious look for a reasonable price and has cushiony underlay which is easier on the feet and legs when standing for hours. After reviewing several installation options, Alexandra settled on a herringbone pattern. It gives more interest and sophistication than a typical linear install.”
Mosher is also very fond of vintage items and a very special display unit she named “Rosa” has pride of place at the front of the store. “A couple of years ago, one of Alexandra’s customers was parting with Rosa and thought that the vintage console/bureau (with a little TLC) would be a nice addition for Alexandra’s collection,” explained Daniel. “She immediately recognised the potential, adopted Rosa, and made her pretty again.
“Alexandra is a keen advocate of rescuing items slated for disposal. She sees the value in quality, aged, worn objects. At the flagship store, cabinets were up-cycled for storage, existing furniture was reused and otherwise forgotten pieces, like Rosa, are used to add character to showroom displays.”
The other display units throughout the store are all custom designed for the space. From the white Bermuda cedar floating shelves on the western wall to the “boiler reef ” display tables in the centre of the room, every part of the space was carefully considered to match the brand. However, the checkout counter/bar is a standout piece and certainly Mosher’s favourite.
“I worked with Simon Leighton at Concrete Works to make a wabi-sabi textured wing shape embedded with twinkling LED lights,” she said. “The shape and texture is modelled after one of my favourite jewellery designs, and the concept behind the lights was to have the sparkles feel like scattered diamonds. The cool feel of the concrete and the soft light is mesmerising. It also makes for a great bar when we throw parties!”
While the result looks almost effortless, the project was not without its challenges. From a leaky front door to a super-tight construction schedule—only 33 days from start to move-in last May—and an unappealing entrance to deal with, the team tackled it all in stride adding in a grate system and new front door to combat the water penetration and hiring mosaic artist Nikki Murray-Mason to give the entrance the kind of curb appeal the client was looking for.
“One morning Alexandra commented that she noticed 13 different surfaces outside the store and that it made for a poor first impression,” said Daniel.
Once the concept for a mosaic was decided, they began working on a design for the entrance using variations of sandy-coloured tiles in an undulating pattern and the scripted letter “A” of the brand’s logo in black.
“Nikki and Alexandra worked together to create a design that honours Alexandra’s trademark and style. Late one windy night Nikki templated the area and worked her magic to install a gorgeous entrance. No one notices the 13 surfaces—now they notice the 30 iridescent colours of the mosaic that glimmer in the sun.”
“This space is truly a dream come true for me, as our team is all under one roof. I can meet with clients for custom designs and sculpt at my jewellery bench all in one bright and beautiful space,” concluded Mosher. “I believe that people can feel how wonderful the space is—and that all of our staff love it, too—and that happiness gets infused into our work. Personally, I have never had a more efficient and inspiring studio space to carve beautiful things. I’m deeply happy and grateful to be in this space.”
Contractors & Suppliers
General Contractor: New-Look Contracting
Electrical Contractor: Noesis Energy Solutions
HVAC: BAC Group of Companies
Plumbing: H&H Plumbing
Flooring Supplier & Installer: Stafford Flooring
Millwork (custom furniture): Camara’s Carpentry
Millwork (cedar shelves): Woodfellows Ltd.
Interior Glass: Alumiglas
Paint Supplier: Rowe Spurling Paint Company
Painter: Ian Adderley Paint Contractors
Exterior Doors & Threshold: Alumiglas
Signage: Gotcha Covered
Drywall & Acoustic Ceiling Installer: Omega Contracting Ltd.
IT: Darren Maksymetz
Cleaners: Island Cleaning
Curtains/Fabrics: Jenn Butterworth Interiors, Sash & Trim
Mosaic Artist: Nikki Inc Mosaics
Specialized Concrete Countertop: Concreteworks
Photowall Photographer: Amanda Temple Photography
Landlord/Base Building: Sarah Vallis
Decals: Bermuda Press Digital