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VM choice: Riktige Leker, Oslo

Riktige Leker, Oslo’s lovely toy store in the Sentrum district, has the most interesting visual merchandising. With a selection of better quality toy brands and brightly painted, closed-back windows, the mini-rooms are a neat display of toys for fun, for gifts, and for interior decoration as shown here. Loosely colour-blocked in a rather adult palette of yellow with black and white, this window has a sharp, crisp feel, a twist on the Scandi looks with which the UK is becoming very familiar.

The brightly painted blue exterior tones, with a green vertical panel dividing each room set, are combined with wooden floors and yellow walls. This employs the bright colours often seen in children’s stores but with a rather sophisticated twist. All have a slightly super-real quality, perhaps because of Norway’s northerly position and the low oblique wintery sun, which almost directly illuminates the glass in addition to the spots placed close to the glass at the top of each window.

Located in an uncompromising concrete hunk of Brutalist architecture, the store occupies an enviable ground floor site, offering a row of windows. The display technique is particularly unusual in comparison to other toy retailers, which tend to completely fill their windows with mostly magenta pink, purple, or scarlet merchandise, in a similar manner to classic hardware stores. Riktige Leker’s relatively curated approach adds a touch of class to the display, approaching the methods used by contemporary designer home stores.

The nearest that the VM approaches to the plethora of merchandise strategy usually seen in toy store windows, is the long window of miniature figures at the side of the store. Filling an imaginary landscape, the mini-merchandise fascinates. It includes dolls’ houses, a farmyard barn, a castle, a windmill, a watermill and boats, each allowing related figures, animals, and vehicles to be grouped adjacently. The display is compelling in its complexity for both adults and children and, with a light touch, just suggests Christmas gifts in the garland draped across the back of the green-painted carriage-window.

This store is well worth a visit not only for its merchandise, which is arguably the best in selection in Oslo, but also for its unusual visual merchandising strategy.

Photographs: Darren Neave

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