The Strand Arcade, Sydney NSW

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Back in 1975 John and Elizabeth Hunt recognised a potential market in Australia for fine luggage and leathergoods, opening a store at the MLC Centre in Sydney. Not far from the original site, and after years of formidable expansion, Hunt Leather has opened its flagship store in Syndey’s Strand Arcade.

“After some years of searching, we’re so pleased to have found the perfect location for our new store. It is not a decision we have taken lightly, after so many years in our previous home, but the Strand Arcade is the perfect fit for us in terms of style, fashion and heritage,” noted Managing Director, Sophie Hunt.

Designed by architect Adrian Spence (one half of the firm Richards & Spence), the 170sqm boutique is set over two levels, with dedicated larger spaces for luggage, handbags and fine leather accessories. The new store is positioned at the George Street entrance the arcade and has some good neighbours in Apple and Louis Vuitton.
Richards and Spence has been working with Hunt Leather on its bricks and mortar retail brand since 2007. According to Andrian Spence, Hunt leather takes a long view for its retail stores, building stores that endure the vagaries of seasonal fashion. Its shops strive for authenticity through quality materials and classic form – designing for the space rather than a cookie cutter, franchise feel.

In this case, the Adrian Spence design works with the colonial grandeur of the historical arcade. The motif of the tessallated tiles of the street level is repeated as a pattern on a grand scale inside the store. A large proportion of the street level floor was removed for a new central oval stair, opening up views to the lower level gallery. Borrowing from a broader colonial theme, Dutch colonial antiques imported from Sri Lanka furnish both levels. Sisal carpets and parlour palms reference ‘Sydney’s subtropical context and the romance of travel’.

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