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Although hailed as scenic, well-planned and prosperous, Oslo has so far failed to impress those in search of a happening lifestyle infrastructure. The city has long been overshadowed by the more dynamic scenes of other nordic capitals where a design legacy and more established creative industries have garnered global attention. But the Norwegian capital has quietly been on the move, and a new generation of savvy entrepreneurs has emerged that has shed old inhibitions and launch plans with unprecedented audacity. A striking example of this new mindset is the newly opened YME concept store in downtown Oslo.

Founded by Nicolai Schaanning Larsen, a multi-tasking central st. Martins graduate who has now also taken on retail, the store concept is inspired by directional emporiums such as London’s Dover street market, Colette in Paris and Milan’s 10 Corso Como, and not only sets new retail standards nationwide, but also for the entire nordic region. Schaanning Larsen has a trained eye for aesthetics, design and style – or dare we say beauty as a whole? – and enlisted acclaimed architecture practice Snøhetta to collaborate on his bold retail vision. The name YME is symbolically based on a character – a jotun or giant – in norse mythology, and very much reflects the can-do attitude that now prevails in Oslo’s creative circles.

Occupying a whopping 1,600 sqm. [17,222 sq.ft.] spread over three floors of a mid-19th century building, YME is also an integral part of paleet, a drastically revamped shopping complex we talked about in a previous post. But then again, the store is conceptualized so differently, it’s visually almost an entity of its own. Schaanning Larsen clearly aims for the stars, and he has all the attributes to pull it off. YME entices shoppers with beautifully designed settings for its offerings, each one brimming with tightly curated goods, ranging from men’s + women’s apparel, shoes and accessories, to bags, fragrances and select furniture pieces.

Situated on the third floor is a café annex bookshop, stocked with relevant books and magazines from across the planet, while the rooftop terrace offers a lush green getaway. Needless to say, this is a place where to splurge, and the shelves are laden with relevant fashion brands to make that happen. YME‘s current brand list features a cool mix of high-end and premium labels, including maison martin margiela, nike, dior homme, opening ceremony and lanvin, and the majority are exclusive to the store. Adding up to the extraordinary shopping experience are exhibitions, product launches, book signings and other events.

Photography: einar Aslaksen
Design by Snøhetta

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