Scandi-chic with a Mediterranean touch
Hygge is a Danish word that refers to a state of mind, a way of being, the sense of serenity that comes from feeling at ease with oneself, especially in the home. This tradition, which has helped to establish the Danish as the happiest people in the world, inspired the two stores recently opened in New York and Los Angeles by the young but already highly successful Scandinavian clothing brand Ganni. The stores were designed by Stockholm-based practice Stamuli Architecture, who despite their young age boast a high level of design expertise in the retail sector. We spoke to the firm’s founder Emanuele Stamuli: “Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup [the husband-and-wife team who founded the brand about 10 years ago, ed.] weren’t looking for a boutique but a kind of Scandinavian home, airy and filled with light, where design would take centre stage in keeping with the Nordic tradition. Moreover, they wanted both the New York and Los Angeles spaces to fit in perfectly with the brand’s signature image, expressing the sense of joy, freshness and confidence that defines the style of the Ganni woman.” This meant minimalism but without sacrificing powerful and original colour research. And indeed colour is the focus of both the US projects, starting with the choice of ceramic materials. “I take great pride in having a certain sensibility when it comes to ceramics, which are always a focal point of my projects. Perhaps it’s partly due to my Mediterranean origins,” explains the architect, a Swedish national who was born in Italy’s Liguria region to a Greek father.
For the New York store, he opted for tiles from the Graph series by Ceramica Vogue, reminiscent of the pinkish-brown colour of graph paper used for technical drawings in architecture. “It’s a very technical, functional collection that allowed us to experiment with the installation pattern, using wide joints in contrasting colours, cherry or China blue for example,” he explained. “In New York we created a sense of visual continuity with the parquet floor, aligning the joints in the two materials and allowing them to merge together. In Los Angeles, on the other hand, the tiles extend up the walls to create a coffee-coloured room with joints in burnt earth tones, and then meet the pine wood parquet flooring that covers the floor,” continues the architect.
The pastel-coloured ceramic tiles alternate with the fresh tones of the walls: sky blue, bubble-gum pink and butter-yellow create solid backgrounds on the perimeter walls and on the partitions that never reach the ceiling, allowing the gaze to wander freely in all directions. But while the new Ganni store in Soho, the heart of the New York shopping district, is a kind of open-plan loft occupying the entire 200 metre ground floor of an elegant building designed by the French starchitect Jean Nouvelle, the new showroom in Los Angeles adapts to the Californian city’s urban building typology, extending lengthwise with a depth of almost twenty metres and a single light point to create a fascinating spyglass effect that makes for a memorable shopping experience.
Last but not least, the interior design project evokes Scandinavian tradition, particularly in terms of its green credentials. “This was a very specific request on the part of Ditte and Nicolaj. And for me it was an exciting opportunity to investigate the potential of recycled materials in the field of design. For this purpose, I created multifunctional volumes (drawer units that can be transformed into simple display elements) using what is referred to nowadays as “smile plastic”, a material obtained by recycling bottles, caps and fishing nets,” concluded the architect.
Ceramica Vogue, Graph
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,5%
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >30 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant