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A concept store of the future: Mercedes me

“From the brief emerged the idea of the home. For many Melburnians, the local cafe is an extension of their lounge room: a home being a place where everyone finds their place.” explains Simon Topliss, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.

Part café, part restaurant, and with a dash of showroom, Mercedes me is a concept store like no other. 

The space showcases Mercedes-Benz’s active role in Melbourne’s festival and events landscape, while also engaging with Melbourne’s artisan community, explains Simon Topliss, senior associate at Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCB), who took care of the project’s design. “One of the key drivers for the project was to grow new markets and increase brand awareness, expanding the exposure of Mercedes-Benz to a broader demographic.”

“From this brief emerged the idea of the home. For many Melburnians, the local café is an extension of their lounge room: a home being a place where everyone finds their place,” he explains. The design then evolved into a series of spatial sequences, all differing in size and character.

At ground level is the living room, which features an open-plan kitchen, dining tables, leather banquettes and externally, a garden. Sculptured stairs lead up to an espresso bar, floating loft and library with an open collaborative space.

The aesthetic of Mercedes Me was inspired by the steelwork of the Mercedes-Benz factories of the 1940s, while the specialist lighting and audiovisual scheme, designed by PointOfView, reflects the Mercedes experience.

“There are only a handful of these lifestyle stores across the world, so the expectation for each visitor’s experience was high,” says Lucy Krimmer, project designer at PointOfView. Because of the many different areas within the space, flexibility was critical. Working with local suppliers such as Light Project helped deliver a well-integrated project. 

One of the most successful elements is the garage care display. Activation of the display lighting is via Mercedes on/off buttons, which activate the mini downlight sensors above each car and also connect to the linear RGB in the garage ceiling, displaying the car’s specifications on the adjacent wall.

In addition to a series of spotlights, downlights and LEDs, in the library, custom pendants create ambience. These pieces are made of leather, referencing the cars’ interiors.

The flexible lighting allows the space to easily convert from a daytime space to one for nighttime, in order to cater to various events.

“The space doesn’t feel like a car showroom,” Topliss says. “It appeals to everyday Melburnians for whom having a regular go-to coffee spot is imperative. The space provides opportunities for visitors to engage with the brand but also, if they wish to, just meet with a colleague or find a quiet corner and work on their laptop. And that’s what we were after – a place that invites people to collaborate; a space that feels authentic, and authentically Melbourne.”

Photographer: Peter Clarke