Now with rumours of OKI-NI opening another store later on this year it made me wonder what exactly the original store looked like when they introduced themselves back in 2001. 6a Architects were the brains behind the concept of the store and have done various other restorations making a name for themselves. After looking at these images, I’m hitting myself for not visiting but I’m hoping the supposed new store will take inspiration and possibly outshine this previous store. I think my favourite aspect are the felt mats that replace the conventional retail storage and shelving. I couldn’t quite work out what the felt mats were doing sat in the reception of the Four Marketing building where OKI-NI are located now, but all has become clear.
Here are a few detailed excerpts from 6a Architects booklet about the OKI-NI design.
“A gently sloping oak tray inserted into a raw concrete shell on Savile Row defines the installation-based concept for oki-ni. Low piles of felt replace the traditional arrangement of shelving, rails and furniture and define oki-ni’s identity and its physical space. With all transactions conducted on-line, the point of sale is also missing and laptop computers become the sales interface. The fan shaped tray doesn’t quite fill the shell leaving a series of mysterious spaces that conceal changing rooms and stairs behind the low oak walls.”
” 6a has designed an architecture that communicates, that almost chatters. There are consciously placed clues and references (to artworks and other aspects of culture) that entice anyone who enters the space to start interpreting it, to wrap it up in layers of meaning and to make it as complicated and engaging as they like. Fundamentally, however, the space is designed to do a simple job: to foreground an assortment of objects and offer them up for consumption and public view. It’s just wood, hangers, felt, striplighting, some display cases arranged as if it all has something to say.You can run in and out to try on a pair of shoes or you can stay there, chill out and wonder about the state of art.”
“The design for oki-ni clearly highlights 6a’s interest in the language, codes and tactics of the visual arts, and the fun that can be had playing about with them.”
Check out more work from 6a Architects.