The Reimagining of Cartier’s Flagship Store

Just as the country emerges from a long year of hibernation, the French luxury fashion house collaborates with 3D artist Paul Milinski.

Article by Tom Lazarus and Luke Benedictus

Paul Milinski’s imagery at Sydney’s Cartier flagship.

While there are companies that talk endlessly about the “customer journey”, Cartier is unveiling a more literal take on the trope: an immense, escapist artwork wrapping the storefront of its new Oceania flagship in Sydney’s CBD. The brand tapped the Melbourne-based 3D artist Paul Milinski to create an evolving series of immersive imagery for the facade. The result is “The Australian Dreamscapes”, a transportive mashup of foliage, architecture, waterways and rock formations designed to spark contemplation of the country’s biodiversity. The featured destination will change every three months, eventually concluding with motifs suggestive of Sydney in time for the store opening in October 2022.

Says Milinski, “This body of work seeks to highlight the majesty and variety of our vast land while signifying digital art as genuine artistic expression. I hope ‘The Australian Dreamscapes’ offers a sense of escapism as well as a reminder of just how special this country is.”

3D artist Paul Milinski.

The enormous scale of the piece — 510 square metres — came with logistical challenges, with Milinski noting “the dimensions and sheer file sizes exceeded the limits of my programs”. “That being said, what is exciting about working at this scale is the opportunity to create something super visible,” he says, “and the idea that I can bring art to Sydneysiders’ everyday life, especially coming out of lockdown.”

Milinski, who is a creative director at the Melbourne design and branding agency Loftgarten, has previously partnered with Cartier on installations for its [Sur]Naturel high jewellery presentation in Singapore in early 2021. The commissions build on Cartier’s long-time ties to the art world, fostered by Fondation Cartier, a commercially independent contemporary art museum that opened in 1984. Now set within a Jean Nouvel-designed Parisian landmark, it houses a collection of almost 2,000 multidisciplinary works by 350-plus artists. An exhibition of paintings by the Indigenous artist Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori opens in 2022 and Fondation Cartier will support local artists through the Sydney Biennale in March.

The 783-square-metre Oceania flagship occupies the first two levels of the five-storey Pavilion building — capped by a rooftop bar — which is the retail face of the $200 million 388 George Street redevelopment. Milinski’s “urban canvas” will give the pedestrianised shopping artery the feel of an open-air gallery — a balm after the grimness of lockdown.