WORDS Michaela Stehr PHOTOS Frances Marais
PICHULIK‘s new store at the V&A Waterfront instantly transports visitors to a realm of serenity, a stark contrast to the bustling shopping centre that surrounds it.
The meticulously crafted space embodies the very essence of PICHULIK – a brand renowned for its handcrafted jewellery, contemporary African design, and sculptural forms inspired by feminine mythology.
The vision came to life through a unique collaboration between Katherine-Mary Pichulik, Tracey Chiappini Young and Xandre Kriel. Together, they imagined a space that defied convention, where artistry and commerce would merge seamlessly. The store’s spatial dimensions were carefully crafted using classical geometrical principles, using horizontal lines to draw the eye upward, evoking a reverence reminiscent of a temple or cathedral.
One of the standout features that sets PICHULIK apart is the complete customisation of every element within the store. Traditional jewellery display elements like busts and T-bar stands were intentionally omitted in favour of a more artistic approach. Collaborating with ceramist Belinda Ormond, PICHULIK created the “PICHULIK Deities” – porcelain heads that serve as unique displays for their earrings. The displays themselves are works of art, with ceramic rope gracefully undulating through them, providing the perfect elevation for showcasing bracelets and neckpieces. A Vorster & Braye vessel dipped in pristine white, takes on a new purpose as it showcases the brand’s bespoke bracelets.
“A curvaceous and minimalist sculptural retail environment, that mimics the sculptures of Barbara Hepworth, Constantin Brancussi and Modigliani with the texture and gravitas of classic greco-roman marble artefacts. In contrast to the traditional shopping centre environment, the new store was designed to feel temple-like, serene and elevating. A gentle dance with form and texture- providing an inviting backdrop where the PICHULIK pieces are the focal point,” elaborate Katherine-Mary Pichulik and Tracey Chiappini-Young.
In terms of the collections on display, visitors can expect to explore the brand’s key ranges, exclusive limited edition pieces, and seasonal releases. Every item tells a story and is infused with the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and contemporary African design.
For entrepreneurs embarking on the journey of designing a retail space, PICHULIK offers a valuable piece of advice: “Your space should align with your brand’s principles and ethos, and it should elevate and hero your work rather than distract from it.” PICHULIK, with its PICHULIK V&A Waterfront Store, has achieved just that, creating a haven of tranquillity and artistry in the heart of the shopping frenzy, a space that showcases handcrafted jewellery, contemporary African design, sculptural forms, feminine mythology, and the creative spirit of Cape Town.