Harper's Bazaar (UK)


At Abisola Omole’s elegant London store, every object tells a story.

- By Brooke Theis www.studioarva.co.uk

Set in the old post-office complex just off Islington’s Upper Street is the newly opened Studio Arva, which the creative director Abisola Omole has designed as a paean to the idea of home. ‘You should always be looking forward to returning to your space,’ she says. ‘Your house should be the place that grounds you and brings you warmth.’

‘Arva’ is Swedish for ‘inherit’, which nods to its Scandinavi­an influence, but the shop also stocks a selection of Japanese ceramics, Moroccan textiles and mid-century pieces, alongside Omole’s own contempora­ry furniture designs. She says she was drawn to the name for its aesthetic appeal. ‘I was fascinated by how it can mean so many different things, from inheriting knowledge to inheriting something of monetary value. I copyrighte­d it about six years ago, thinking I would use it one day.’

Omole has previously created event spaces for brands such as Selfridges and Starbucks through her company, the Apartment – but her priorities shifted in 2020. ‘I wanted to start focusing on my own story,’ she explains. She began selling pieces from her collection – gathered from antique markets, warehouses, Gumtree and eBay – through her online shop before she invested in bricks and mortar last year.

At the centre of the store is an eyecatchin­g rectangula­r sculpture resembling a swimming pool, ‘a fun way to bring endless summer to London,’ she says. Three cabinets hold most of the objects, from vintage Wedgwood trinket boxes to 1960s alabaster cups – with each of which Omole says she has a ‘personal affinity’. Among her most popular items are decorative Italian onyx fruits and marble pedestals (‘Any time I get some in, they go’), as well as her own collection, which features curved shelving units and coffee tables. ‘I want it all to feel like a casual, unpretenti­ous exhibition,’ says Omole, who encourages visitors to sit on the furniture and ask questions. ‘For me, it’s about tapping in to what makes you happy.’

 ?? ?? Above: Abisola Omole in front of her swimming-pool sculpture
Above: Abisola Omole in front of her swimming-pool sculpture
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