Fillipa K is the brainchild of two founders, Patrik Kihlborg and Filippa Knutsson, the latter of whom gives the brand its name. Founded in the 1990’s as more or less a cottage industry, the business has grown into an international concern, first conquering Scandinavia, then focussing heavily on northern Europe before making well thought out forays further abroad – such as the choice of San Francisco as an American city that might prove particularly simpatico to the brand’s design philosophy.
Based in a classic Swedish simplicity of clean and practical lines manufactured to a high degree of technical excellence, the brands men’s and womenswear rages have proved an instant hit with fashion conscious international young professionals. After all, although the approach is based in working with a classical core of clothing, it’s not without a certain nod to the zeitgeist of fashion; a suitable awareness of what is currently fashionable without ever giving in to excessive trendiness.
Deeply bound up with the Fillipa K story is the work of Stockholm-based architecture practice Aaro Arkitektkontor. Aaro Arkitektkontor have been responsible for all of the Fillipa K stores, from reworking the jugendstijl pomp of the Hamburg store on a prominent corner of Hohe Bleichen, to the lofty modernist hangar of a store on San Francisco’s Kearny Street.
In effect, keeping up with Fillipa K’s need for impressive new stores has become something of almost a fulltime occupation for the practice that has focussed on residential and design projects in addition to more sprawling architectural activities such as town planning projects. The speed with which the recognisable Swedish brand has expanded in recent years has had to see the practice walk that careful line in which the essential corporate identity of Filippa K is retained; yet each location offers something fresh and unique. With the new Oslo store, they have clearly risen to the challenge with aplomb.
It’s hardly a surprise that a brand like Filippa K would be suited to an interior aesthetic of clean, almost clinical lines, with expanses of white being practically obligatory. It is this sleek and stylish monochromatic approach with materials like finished wood, glass or chrome that we associate with Fillipa K’s stores.
But, in Oslo, we see the design of the most recent Fillipa K store taking on a new evolution in which there is more conceptual play at work. Rather than the bright flat white that pervades in other stores, here the option has been to go more for a washed-out chalk finish that is well suited to the almost monastic arches of the space in a historic district of Oslo. This less industrial finish is echoed in the effect on the floor, suggesting traditional clay. The slight sense of a more rustic mood is also underpinned by the use of wood left very much as its natural colour and grain would present it to the world, au naturel. Yet, all of these natural elements that take the design in a rustic direction are contrasted with the simple modernist angularity of fittings and fixtures.
It is, indeed, a warm and stylish place in which to best show off the brand’s well-known design philosophy.