Project in Detail
McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture and Design, North Vancouver, Canada
Front view of sales counter and Obakki signage
The design is done, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
We loved this project because it embodies our design philosophy with so few strokes.
We believe that the spirit of sustainability is captured in simplicity; the essential is the essence. We strive to provide through the absence of gesture and in the ephemeral world of retail to provide in the simplest, most adaptable and ultimately most transportable footprint.
Obakki is a fashion store located in the Gastown area of Vancouver. The store promotes the work of a handful of Canadian fashion designers producing seasonal men’s and women’s lines. The project ambition was to develop a store design that supported the simple, modern and evolving aesthetic of the brand’s fashion with a flexible environment for showcasing clothes, jewelry and accessories.
In an effort to compliment and respect the brick and board-form concrete of the shell, a knife-edge white ceiling and similarly acutely-cornered white walls were introduced to define program spaces. Thin steel rails were suspended from the ceiling to display the clothes in a box-like field reinforced by flanking concrete shear walls.
The design team collaborated with a Vancouver woodworker and artisan to develop a dominant signature millwork element that organizes the store and sales counter. The composition evolved with a long ‘Shattered’ wooden counter intersected with folds of white solid surfacing and integrated jewelry trays. The counter discreetly houses basic storage millwork for point of sale and merchandise. Large blocks of fir are arranged into low tables and a display area.
Custom chandeliers were designed as softened interpretation of the “Shattered” millwork piece and built by the architects using translucent acrylic suspended below simple light boxes that conceal porcelain fixtures. The chandeliers mark the point of sale location on the counter and define the large fir block tables that anchor the space.
The design is tunable to changes in the palette of the clothes by using off-cut fabric from the Obakki line as walls. The fabric is used to neutralize the red brick when needed. Two circular change rooms were created with floor to ceiling curtains sewn by the Obakki team. The change room approach avoided the traditional hard footprint of changing areas and provides a very open store when the change rooms are not in use and a soft fabric counterpoint to the clean acute lines of the space when in use. Tall curved drywall panels incorporate a backlit mirror framing the edge of the change rooms and illuminating the volumes when occupied. To complete the space, custom demountable displays where created with the intention of allowing the seasonal jewelry pieces to be displayed on the feature wall as artwork.
McFarlane Green Biggar Architecture and Design