YME is located between the Royal Palace and the Parliament in Karl Johans gate 39, in a beautiful and historic building from 1844 previously described as a “Paris in miniature”. YME is inspired by stores such as Colette in Paris, Corso Como in Milan, and Dover Street Market in London, and it is a curated universe of fashion, art, interior, and design.
The store’s design and interior created by YME Studios in collaboration with Snøettta features an art gallery, a bookstore, a café, and a future roof garden. Art exhibitions are frequently found alongside the merchandise, as are signings, launches, in-store appearances, and fashionable happenings.
Through a six month long process, YME Studios and Snøhetta have collaborated on the design of fixed elements, infrastructure, lighting, material choice, and the important spatial concepts creating the frames of the YME Universe. The ambition was to create a universe based on the saga about YME that would take Oslo and Norway out to the rest of the world.
Different expressions meet on a variety of platforms in a gathered yet schizophrenic expression. Ideas are manifested in physical objects based on the Norse story of creation, where YME was created out of Fire from Muspelheim and Ice from Niflheim, and where Odin, Vilje, and Ve in the end had to kill YME for the world to be created.
At the main entrance, one is welcomed through a 25 meter long frieze of pinewood, telling the story about the 12 rivers coming together in Ginnungagap. The first floor is a tale of ice from Niflheim, with a cold palette, putting focus on product display and highlighting of special elements. From the first floor, one is guided further up in the Universe with the staircase – or more accurately put; a 12 meter tall art space with a transparent glass bridge on top where one can view three floors down.
Between the cold first and the warm third floor is the second floor, where the flooring is woven solid wood, and the windows out to Karl Johans gate are reopened to bring daylight into the store. With a wish to carry on qualities from the 1800s building, a large part of the original studwork has been kept, temporary walls have been removed, and distinct qualities of the building have been highlighted.
From the second floor one is brought up into the upscale third floor through a crude steel spiral staircase. The stairs lands on a bridge emphasizing an extra tall passage. On the third floor one can find a café with art and a selection of books, and it is also the floor which one in the future can get access to the roof garden.