09 Oct 2019 • Lauren Grace Morris
Why a Ukrainian studio went simple for a Kiev flower store
In our July-August 2018 issue, Frame 123, we explored how spatial design is playing a key role in the growing flower business. A year on, we strengthen our case with the Kiev store of Ukrainian wholesale supplier Dicentra. Rina Lovko cut through the visual noise of decadent decor and bountiful arrangements to offer a pared-down thoughtful retail experience in looks and layout alike.
The juxtaposition between the shop’s design and product offering was intentional. ‘The idea was to make everything look untouched,’ explains Lovko, ‘as if we had come, put down furniture and the store started working.’ She likens the space, which is part of Dicentra’s warehouse, to a hangar. Previously used as a workshop in Soviet times, it is divided simply by two walls and central columns. To achieve the desired material effect, the studio chose to fill the asphalt floors with concrete and to remove existing green oil paint and whitewash before priming and glazing the walls.
Two refrigerators – one a showcase of cut flowers for sale, the other closed for potted plants – are the functional heart of the store. Both were custom built from aluminium and equipped with sliding doors and motion sensors. The illuminated refrigeration interiors are painted in a shade of graphite to contrast strongly with, and consequently boost sales of, the flowers. After being selected, blooms are arranged in an area with a mobile work table and easily adjustable shelving to make busy days – 14 February, for example – much easier. All of the furniture developed by the studio is made of stainless steel and lined with grey terrazzo plates.
Late in the design process, Dicentra asked Rina Lovko to add an auxiliary space to the store: a small office for managers. The result is a mirrored cube within the room that stands free of the side walls and visually elongates the ‘hangar’. This design addendum symbolizes both the strength of Dicentra as a typology-shifting project and the studio’s prowess in providing simple solutions.