Dezeen Magazine

Wooden counter and white clothing rails in the OCE Copenhagen store interior by Aspekt Office

Aspekt Office designs bright white store with "Nordic atmosphere" for Chinese lifestyle brand

The minimalist, utilitarian interior of this store in Copenhagen by local studio Aspekt Office provides a neutral backdrop for the colourful clothing and homeware that it sells.

Located on Niels Hemmingens Gade where it meets the city's pedestrian shopping street Strøget, the OCE concept store occupies a building that dates back to 1736.

White and coral-coloured steel shelving in the OCE Copenhagen store interior
Products are displayed across white and coral-coloured shelves in the home department

OCE stands for objects, clothes and experiences, in reference to what's on offer in the lifestyle brand's roughly 50 Chinese stores and its growing number of European outposts.

Terkel Skou Steffensen and Hans Toft Hornemann of Aspekt Office were asked to create an interior for the brand's Copenhagen store that would help to attract Scandinavian customers.

White walls and shelving in the OCE Copenhagen store interior by Aspekt Office
The steel storage units blend in with the white walls

"The design requirements for the new store were clear and concise," said the studio, which has provided creative direction for OCE for several years.

"OCE wanted us to create a Nordic atmosphere and add a Scandinavian look, feel and expression to their brand, to be able to attract Scandinavian costumers. That was paramount."

Wooden counter and in the minimalist OCE Copenhagen store interior
An oak-panelled service counter provides visual warmth within the otherwise industrial space

The studio decided to divide the store into different zones, one dedicated to fashion and the other to homeware.

Upon entering at ground floor level, customers are greeted by an oak service counter that provides a warm counterpoint to the all-white interior while effectively splitting the area in two.

White walls and rails in the OCE Copenhagen store interior by Aspekt Office
Clothing is hung on simple white rails

"In general, we have worked with as few colours as possible to make [OCE's] colourful products stand out and take the primary focus," said Steffensen and Hornemann.

"To obtain the essential Scandinavian look and feel, we have worked with carefully selected materials. Scandinavian design is a design movement characterised by simplicity, minimalism, functionality and beauty, and we had to mirror that in OCE's new store."

In the home department to the right of the counter, the interior was kept "sterile and raw", with products displayed on simple white and coral-coloured steel shelves.

On the other side, the fashion department sees clothing hung on white steel rails and changing rooms concealed behind grey wool curtains. A grey linoleum floor, designed to resemble concrete, was used throughout to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

Grey wool changing room curtains and white rails in the OCE Copenhagen store interior
Grey wool curtains separate the changing rooms

Several of the shop's display tables are topped with a speckled, terrazzo-like material that is created from recycled yoghurt pots by UK company Smile Plastics.

"Since the store is very small and compact, we made it our mission to utilise even the tiniest little corner," explained the studio, which has transformed the previously unused space under the stairs into an exhibition area with built-in shelving.

"In this way, we highlight the stairs of the store and lead people to the first floor."

Traditional wooden staircase in the OCE Copenhagen store interior by Aspekt Office
A staircase with traditional turned wood spindles was painted white

The store's minimal white interior was also designed to be respectful to the surrounding architecture.

"The store is located in a pedestrian area, surrounded by historical buildings with bricks facades and stucco decorations," the studio explained.

"Another common feature of these buildings are the large, high windows that allow in as much light as possible, but also allow you to see the beautiful surrounding edifices," it added.

"We wanted the shop to have a look that blends in homogeneously, no dramatic pops of colour, no discontinuity with the neighbouring interiors that you can see through the windows. The soft palette blends in with the surrounding environment, the materiality chosen is simple and discreet, yet modern and fresh."

Wooden counter and white shelving in the OCE Copenhagen store interior by Aspekt Office
The oak counter separates the homeware from the fashion department

Other designers who have attempted to capture a Scandinavian aesthetic in a retail setting include Ulrika Bernhardtz, the creative director of lifestyle brand Arket, who designed the brand's Copenhagen store using an all-grey palette.

In London, architecture firm Farrells conceptualised the interior of a mixed-use shopping and dining development to reflect Japanese and Nordic culture, while the Soho store of clothing brand Eytys references Swedish brutalism and postmodernism.