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VM choice: SPRMRKT in Amsterdam

SPRMRKT must be one of the coolest stores in Amsterdam. Retailing a mix of menswear, womenswear - with lots of Rick Owens - and a selection of images, books, and magazines, it perhaps occupies a similar market niche to Darklands in Berlin.

Launched in the Jordaan district, in a former supermarket on Rozengracht, in 2003 it now has a second, slightly more glossy, branch in Ibiza.

The interior is a carefully edited mix of neutral tones for a client whose wardrobe is mostly black with perhaps some white.

A distinctive feature of the store is a series of white drawers and cupboards that form both a fixture, a wall unit, and storage space.

Notice how the flat-pack shelves are a mix of different systems. Together they form a wall which is visually complex and interesting, both very familiar and unfamiliar. I particularly like the drawers that only partially fill the space in which they are housed, so that they form an open display drawer, rather like a contemporary version of the lovely old glass-fronted display cabinets of the past.

The store entrance features a forest of tree trunks by art collective WDSTCK, and signals the unconventional intentions of the brand. Note the tree trunk motif on the wall to the right, and the band of dark colour around the walls, constraining the generous space.

The fixtures are perfectly elegant and, I suspect, much copied. With unobstrusive metal fixtures descending from the ceiling, they have bare, florescent tubes elegantly attached at a uniform height. This creates a light cloud directly above the merchandise and avoids multiple ceiling spotlights which would throw a mass of bewildering shadows.

At the centre of the space is a low, rough-hewn painted table on which a mannequin and a selection of merchandise are placed. The only natural light, from the skylight directly above, showcases this. There is no attempt to conceal the stripped-out ceiling of the original building shell, but the position of the table seems to deliberately accentuate the symmetry of the structure and the skylight.

The store is punctuated with a series of oversized light fittings, reminiscent of the suspended lights popular in the 1930s and 40s. Reworked in black with a white convex lens diffusing a soft light, these are placed across the store and here, above a hammock-style suspended table, again fashioned from a slab of wood.

Image:  SPMRKT Amsterdam fascia

Photographs: Darren Neave