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Democratic Eyewear in Copenhagen by Studio Emily Broom


Studio Emily Broom has combined industrial materials such as concrete and stainless steel with smoked oak and velvety soft leather to create an understated elegance for a sleek, contemporary eyewear store in Copenhagen. Located on Gammel Kongevej, one of Frederiksberg’s main shopping streets, the store is the newest addition to the Democratic Eyewear family.

Founded in July 2019, Democratic Eyewear’s philosophy is to keep things simple with exceptionally designed eyewear of the best quality that is both affordable and available to everyone. Gammel Kongevej is their 3rd store in Denmark, but the first designed by Studio Emily Broom. The Copenhagen-based studio, founded by Australian architect and designer Emily Broom, designed the store to emphasise these principles of simplicity and quality and to enhance a shopping experience that is authentic, straightforward and calm.

The store reflects Emily’s refined aesthetic, attention to detail and thoughtful approach, all of which she honed while designing projects in Denmark and abroad for renowned architecture and design studios Space Copenhagen, Norm Architects and Dorte Mandrup. Establishing her own Copenhagen studio in 2019, she is now developing interior architecture projects across a range of scales, alongside furniture projects, and functional objects for private commission. For Democratic Eyewear, warm walls have been dressed with stripped back stainless steel shelves that allow the product to be the focus. Two full length mirrors punctuate the steel shelves by visually connecting one side of the space to the other via a seven meter long smoked oak counter. While the slim profile steel shelves are visually lightweight and ‘hover’ off the wall, the counter anchors the scheme with its deliberately massive yet asymmetric design.


At one end, the cantilevered counter provides a space to meet and greet while the opposite end offers customers a place to sit and have a more relaxed consultation with the Democratic Eyewear team. The counter is supported by 2 columns that double as storage concealed behind flush push-touch drawers, while leather lined drawers to the centre of the counter showcase the range of sunglasses and accessories.

In each window, a smoked oak floating shelf displays more eyewear on hand polished steel plates, some layered with pale ice blue leather that subtly plays with tone on tone adding tactility without detracting from the eyewear products themselves. ‘The aim was to create an overall sense of calm for the customer’s shopping experience by taking away the excess that often distracts from the actual product being sold. The muted and restrained colour palette creates a cool environment that feels contemporary and inviting’.

To the rear of the shop, the dropped ceiling creates a change in pace and a natural nook for lounging. A floor to ceiling bookshelf centres on the space to display artwork, books or additional eyewear. Two low lounge chairs from Møbel Copenhagen, upholstered in a chunky grey textile offset by the minimal polished steel frame are accompanied by smoked glass wall mounted lights from New Works. This welcoming space offers an opportunity for customers to pause and enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail as part of Friday bar while their frames are adjusted.

A separate consultation room for eyesight examinations is located behind a floor to ceiling steel framed glass wall and softened with curtains behind. When the room is not in use, the curtains are drawn back, and natural light floods the room pulling the eye through the full depth of the store. Muted dusty blue-grey cabinetry is contrasted to the slick stainless steel details. The blue-grey base units provide additional storage and custom-made oak trays inside can be pulled out to display the full colour range of each eyewear collection.

All furniture and accessories in the store are custom-made, including the large mirror behind the counter. Featuring a stainless steel edge, this breaks up the rigid formality while increasing the sense of space within the store.

One of Democratic Eyewear’s unique selling points is the number of frames they have available for their customers. The challenge when designing was to hit the optimum number of frames on display without overwhelming the customer. ‘We achieved this by keeping the design language for the store simple without any visible fixings or unnecessary details. By using a restrained palette and symmetry in the floorplan we were able to create a design that encourages the customer to circulate the entire space with enough visual pauses to be able to view over 400 frames without feeling overwhelmed.’

Photography by Studio Emily Broom

A beautiful addition to the inspiring city of Copenhagen, what a dream it would be to visit this store for the annual eye test and to shop for new glasses! 

I also recommend checking out the Lullula Project by Studio Emily Broom.

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