Text description provided by the architects. With online retail on the rise, shopping habits are changing, forcing brands to rethink and innovate their marketing strategies. Although digital retail is effective, many consumers still want to see and experience products physically. In response to this, Snøhetta has designed “a better place to think” in collaboration with the Norwegian tech company reMarkable, whose next-generation paper tablet was named one of the best inventions of 2020 by TIME Magazine. In the store, reMarkable’s latest paper tablet can be experienced in an environment that allows visitors to delve into a universe that fosters focused thinking.
Situated in the middle of Oslo’s central fashion district in Øvre Slottsgate, a side street to the city’s main shopping street Karl Johan, reMarkable opened its first pop-up store. The opening marks a bold move in the era of the pandemic, manifesting the importance of creating holistic retail experiences in the intersection of the analog and digital sphere.
Conceptually, the store references the spatial qualities that characterize libraries – the unpolished elegance of clean and open spaces, tidy structures, focused reading zones, and a tranquil atmosphere. Central concepts that guide the design approach are the subtle yet powerful material qualities of paper, and the library’s ability to bring focus and clarity to one’s thinking.
The layout of the store revolves around a centralized column, out of which an inner and outer ring of tables in various heights provide places for focus, and for testing out the paper tablets. Wall-mounted shelves display accessories through custom-made product stands. A niche in the store creates a natural position for the point of sale.
The walls and ceiling are painted in a matte dark blue color, lending a calm and sober ambiance to the space. The existing concrete floor is exposed along the walls, while the central area is covered with a brown coconut carpet. The bespoke furniture around the centralized column are made from oak, treated with a matte lacquer, which creates a warm atmosphere. Orange lamps define the individual spots for trying out the tablets. Most of the walls are covered with pulp acoustic panels with a paper-like finish, providing tactility as well as acoustic qualities. The display shelves are painted white to blend in with the acoustic panels and to create a subtle and clean backdrop in the store. A hand-made chandelier surrounds the tables, expressing the energy and movement of a handwritten line.
In the same way as the reMarkable paper tablets that the pop-up store displays, the space is designed to support and explore focused thinking in the digital age.