The Start Up Files is a series that aims to find out where good ideas come from and how they happen. Each fortnight we chronicle the journey of someone who brought their idea to life through the Renew Adelaide program. In this article, we chat to Rebecca Coombs from eyewear atelier Coombs + Co.
In the heart of Rundle Street, nestled amongst various fashion boutiques is where you’ll find eyewear atelier Coombs + Co. An intriguing space that functions as a gallery and working studio, if you peer through the front window there’s a good chance you’ll catch Peter Coombs crafting his latest piece.
Peter created his first pair of glasses in 1985 while he was studying a Bachelor of Design. As a jewellery and metalsmithing major, he considers eyewear as ‘jewellery for the face’, using materials such as sterling silver and titanium and occasionally utilising precious jewels.
Peter’s unique designs proved attractive to private collectors across the globe –including the one and only Elton John- as a result, most of his designs are limited or one-off pieces.
Around 5 years ago, Peter’s wife Rebecca came on board the Peter Coombs brand to assist with her marketing expertise. At the time, Peter was working out of his home studio, he purchased the house next door to his home specifically for the purpose. While the space worked well, it was isolated and Peter and Rebecca became curious about the concept of a more public facing space. After waiting for the perfect space to become available, they landed a rent-free retail space in the heart of the East End’s fashion district through the Renew Adelaide program.
When Peter and Rebecca first moved into 249 Rundle St, it was a blank canvas. Their challenge was to transform it into a high end space that reflected the Peter Coombs brand. They opted for a minimalist industrial aesthetic, as Peter’s designs are heavily inspired by architecture. Most of the fit out in the space was provided by their local designer friends such as Yuro Cucor who is behind the space’s unique lighting design and Paul Townsin who designed a lot of the décor found in the space.
More than just a store, the concept of Coombs and Co was to have a gallery showcasing the designs of Peter Coombs as well as other local artists such as Cucor and Townsin. The space also serves as a functional studio, providing customers the opportunity to watch Peter as he worked and chat to him about his process. Interestingly, Rebecca notes that Coombs + Co largest customer base has been tourists as the unique atelier experience makes it an attractive destination.
As such Peter Coomb’s latest collection is titled ‘Coombs + Co’ named for being the first collection created entirely in the Rundle Street space.