Opus unveils new concepts at Paddington flagship

Opus DesignDesign and giftware retailer, Opus, has brought together two separate store concepts under one roof following a $5 million refurbishment of its flagship store on Oxford Street in the inner Sydney suburb of Paddington.

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Opus and its iconic green exterior has been a landmark along the city’s well-known retail strip since first opening in 1968. Now, after weathering retail highs and lows for 47 years, the family-owned business has launched a brand new refurbished store, combining its original Opus brand and its upmarket sister concept, Opus Design Co.

In collaboration with Richard William Associates, Opus has transformed an original heritage building into a cavernous, two-floor space replete with modern touches.

The family-owned business originally operated two separate stores along Oxford St, but has since merged both brands. The 400sqm floor is split into two levels, with Opus on the first floor and Opus Design Co on the second. Each floor is individually branded with separate signage and decor.

Opus, which has been dubbed a mini-department store, house an eclectic and quirky assortment of products, such as cards and novelty items, through to giftware and kitchenware. Upstairs, Opus Design Co features a premium selection of lifestyle and art items from brands such as Kate Spade, Elk, and Atelier Luminara.

Even during Paddington’s struggles, Opus continued to grow and generate profitable ventures, going against the general downturn in retail across Australia.

The new store follows year on year growth for Opus, with the brand growing by 10 per cent in the last 12 months alone and employing up to 30 staff during busy seasons. Opus also trades online and web sales account for seven per cent of the total purchases.

“The reason we did this big refurbishment is to become Australia’s leading design and gift store,” said Opus director, Chris Tourgelis, whose parents founded the original Opus business. “We really put everything into making it special, and we feel like it’s going to be a destination in Sydney for design and gifts now.”

Highlights of the refurbishment, which took around 15 months to develop, include a green vertical garden, located behind the Opus Design Co signage, sky high ceiling lights on the second floor, and the use of natural fixtures and materials including tiles on the first floor placed in a herringbone pattern.

“Downstairs is fresh and cool, and upstairs is a little bit more paired back, and a little bit more elegant,” Tourgelis explained. “Upstairs, the ceiling height is around 20ft and there are massive skylights that go through the middle that bring natural sunlight into the store.

“From downstairs it doesn’t feel like it’s possible to have such tall ceilings in the same space, so it’s a nice surprise. It’s a really interesting space architecturally. The natural materials we have also used I don’t think have really been used in a store fitout before.”

Product refresh
The redevelopment has also lead to a refresh of Opus and Opus Design Co’s product offering. Tourgelis said following the revamp, Opus Design Co has beefed up its furniture range, including decor and lighting, and also increased its premium giftware lines. Average price points of Opus Design Co pieces are around $120, and Opus items sit at around $30.

“The branding instore is still the same. We’ve introduced a lot more quirky signage in the store that let’s people know that we have been here since 1968. At the same time, we’ve really tried to re-energise the brand. The signage outside is also powerfully loud. It really does look like a brand new concept. And for people that are new to Sydney, they think it’s a brand new concept too.”

As Opus enters a new chapter along Oxford St, Tourgelis believes the city strip is also turning a new page after a few tumultuous years.

“I think Paddington is having a resurgence,” he opined. “As well as our big investment in the area, there are a lot of new development happening and new retailers opening. There’s a lot going on this year, it feels like it’s turning quickly now.

“I don’t think retail is dead. Everyone is saying that the market is bad, and yes, it is hard work but there is still life in retail if you put investment in.”

Opus will open a third store, a temporary pop-up at the Strand Arcade in Sydney’s CBD, over Christmas. And Tourgelis added that the business hasn’t ruled out more stores: “We’re open to more stores for sure”.

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