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Lighting Report: Oeno House, London

Illumination tactics unify the space while protecting the contents within




HISTORICALLY A SUPPLIER to private collectors and Michelin-starred restaurants, fine wine investment group Oeno (London) wanted to branch out to a wider community. After calling on Studio Four IV (London) to design its first retail experience, the brand recently launched the Oeno House concept in the City of London.

Occupying three levels in the historic Royal Exchange building (a Grade I listed property), the boutique offers champagne and wine pulled directly from Oeno’s client portfolios. Catering to novices and connoisseurs alike, Oeno House hosts regular events and offers a staff-guided experience for casual visitors.

The ground floor is home to the main retail space and features a marble cashwrap that doubles as an alfresco wine bar that can be set up for samplings, a custom gold-framed fridge housing champagne and a EuroCave cabinet that stores wines at the ideal temperature. Visitors can scan QR codes to learn more about products, and staff can access digital screens to share offerings in an “endless aisle” state. A balustrade filled with wine wraps around the curve of the mezzanine above. The top floor features a private meeting and tasting room (clients can meet with their account managers here and discuss their wine investment portfolios), while an outdoor terrace, available during warmer months, can be used for small events or tastings. Large windows bring in natural light, while sheer blinds protect the wine from excess heat.

Wine is a delicate product, sensitive to both heat and light, so the illumination throughout the space had to not only set the tone for the experience, but work within certain confines so the product wasn’t damaged. “The specifics of working with wine are quite technically difficult,” says Chris Dewar-Dixon, Director, Studio Four IV. “Whilst you want to light the bottle and liquid and the label … the last thing you need to apply to this product is any sort of heat.” Thus, for shelving and visual displays, LEDs were heavily utilized.

Designers thoughtfully specified each lighting element to unify the three-level space and protect the delicate product inside.

Designers thoughtfully specified each lighting element to unify the three-level space and protect the delicate product inside. Courtesy of Studio Four IV, London

Designers used lighting to unify the space, like the Bocci chandelier that can be seen from the ground floor and mezzanine. Comprising 19 blown glass spheres in colors like gold, amber, claret and yellow, its design is a clever nod to the product. A smaller version of the chandelier is found in the private meeting/tasting room on the top floor, echoing the space downstairs. Other uniquely lit elements include bespoke double-sided cabinets found in the storefront windows, reminiscent of jewelry displays, that house a variety of fine wines.

On the ground floor, a massive, illuminated slab of onyx creates a stunning backdrop for 60 fine wine bottles. According to Dewar-Dixon, it was important to source a background that didn’t distract from the red wine it displayed yet still created a wow moment. “The stone provides a really nice contrast, and it’s stimulating and exciting, but it doesn’t detract,” he says. “A lot of work went into the detail to make sure there was no shadow behind the wine and on the stone.”

Photography: Courtesy of Studio Four IV, London

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