The BeStore Award was launched by MIDO to reward the best optician’s store in the world. The award is divided into two categories: BeStore Design and BeStore Innovation. The first is dedicated to optician’s stores which offer an unmissable shopping experience thanks also to the shop lay-out, materials used, furnishing and design; the second is for optician’s stores which are innovative in their customer service, interaction with suppliers, digital and traditional communication, as well as in their story and personal/emotive aspects. This year’s BeStore Design award was won by Ottica Bux in Altamura (Bari, Italy).
We interviewed the owner, Sabino Bux.
Sabino, could you tell us how you arrived at the opening of your optician’s store?
I studied optics and optometry at Istituto Zaccagnini in Bologna; at the end of my studies, I was not yet totally convinced of wanting to be an optician. Then, in 2002, a decisive factor occurred in my career that had a huge impact: I took part in the Versailles 4th International Congress of Behavioural Optometry, organised by SOE together with OET. During that event, I literally fell in love with optometry and I started to work in our study, which is separate from the store.
Around twenty years ago, another thing changed the course of my professional life again; in our optician’s store, there are four colleagues, two of whom had alternating maternity leaves which “forced” me to spend more time in the store, and that led to a more intense activity connected to the daily management of the store.
Up to that point, I had focused on the professional aspect of my job, but working in the shop each day made me realise the need to change the look of the store. So I decided to go ahead with the first large-scale renovation in 2010.
The new lay-out helped to make me passionate about cutting-edge eyewear.
In 2020, I restructured the store, tripling the size by taking over some nearby shops.
This new lay-out led to you winning this year’s BeStore Award in the Design category...
That was a great surprise! The new optician’s store is like my baby, because the renovation works took nine months! For me, winning this prize was very important. To tell the truth, when I contacted the architects about the plan, I specifically said that this prize existed and I wanted to win it.
How would you describe your store?
It is in a building that dates back to the early 1900s. A large window leads into the lobby, where the furnishing integrates some of the materials used in the eyewear that we sell in the store: there’s a long wooden backlit wall with spotlights of Mazzucchelli acetate; the drawers are finished in metal; the drawer handles are leather; the shelves and central table are wood and laminate. From this room we move into the foyer with a glass brick ceiling. The materials here are raw and minimalist: iron, tuff and wood. From the foyer, by ringing the brass doorbell, you enter the “Casa Bux”, where the atmosphere is totally different; crossing the parlour with piano, you arrive in the welcoming living room with a hideaway kitchen concealed behind a mirror. In “Casa Bux” there are numerous references to music: as well as the old-fashioned but ever captivating CD stereo system and Marantz record-player, there are various pictures which are actually album covers that link the world of eyewear (and vision in general) to the world of music. Every item of furnishing, even the flooring, has been made by local craftsmen, to create continuity and coherence with the eyewear collections that we show our customers.
Why did your store receive the 2023 BeStore Award?It was chosen for “the incredible mixture of elements and environments, for the perfect synchrony between elegance and luxury, art and craftsmanship, and for the details that link the world of eyewear to that of music”.