Canadian studio Omar Gandhi Architect has chosen an all-white palette for the interior of a clothing boutique in its home city of Halifax. Rchmnd (pronounced Richmond) is a multi-brand fashion retail company based in Halifax, Canada. Its store occupies a narrow ground floor space in the city’s historic Granville block – recently revitalised as a cultural hub. The design concept sought to pay homage to the neighbourhood’s architectural styles, while conveying the brand’s pared-back aesthetic. “During the design process of the physical space, great emphasis was placed on respecting and celebrating the historic building’s character,” said Omar Gandhi Architect.
“[We made] exaggerated, oversized mouldings, a feature temple-like door way – while introducing new elements of modern design.” From the outside, glazing frames products displayed on white millwork – giving visitors the impression of a minimal, monochromatic space. Along both walls, recessed cavities provide room to hang clothing or place shelves. The spaces are separated by shallow partitions, resembling columns in high-relief against the walls. Along their upper register, the flow into elaborate, double-tiered original mouldings along the ceiling.
The cornices stop short of an archway, also original to the space. Its form is echoed above twice – first engraved, and then again as a hollow in the upper wall. Along the store’s midline, display benches and the open archway follow the same axis as the glazed entrance. A mirror on the rear wall gives the impression of an extended space past the archway, even when viewed from outside. Minimalism is a popular choice for fashion boutiques.
Others that also make use of a monochromatic palette include John Pawson’s design for British fashion designer Christopher Kane’s first physical retail space, Beige’s Tokyo concept store by Nendo, and a clothing shop in Porto designed by local studio Fala Atelier. Omar Gandhi Architects has recently completed several buildings in Nova Scotia that feature similarly pared-back designs, including a slender cabin that stands on a bluff and a holiday home perched on a rocky cliff.