elegance and design for the retail sector.
It was architecture that changed the image of stores. It all began in 1832 with the Galleria De Cristoforis in Milan and then with the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (1867-77): prototypes of English arcades and Parisian passages. Shortly afterwards the department stores became the symbol of metropolitan life, the crowds and the general public. The merchandise itself would be transformed into a spectacle similar to that of the buildings.
Today “shop design” is called to new challenges. If the model of the U.S. shopping malls appears obsolete and is headed for a rapid decline, architecture can still be a solution. Rethinking the idea of public spaces is also possible through the use of materials and their qualities. For example in interior surfaces, which are a little like squares and a bit like streets: a mix of street furniture and domestic settings. Precious stone floors contribute to creating a sense of visual comfort, while at the same time meeting precise standards of durability, homogeneity and structural safety. Hence, is the meeting between compositional design and the quality of the products, supply and installation.
Highly frequented places can dialogue with the city and weave very close visual relationships, not just being simple containers. As in a domestic environment, the care of the furnishings, finishes and light make the difference. The use of materials and their combinations gives the tone of continuity between interior and exterior, between history and current events. Trade becomes an integral part of an authentic human landscape.
There are many of Marmi Ghirardi’s creations in this sector: the refined interiors of Harrod’s Men’s Superbrands in London, Ferragamo, Max Mara and Tiffany boutiques all over the world, up to the large spaces of the Kingdom Mall in Riyadh, the Kwangju Lotte Department Store in Kwangju and the Youngdengpo Lotte Department Store in Seoul, and the Corvin Plaza-Shopping center in Budapest. In all these spaces the walking surfaces appear as a “horizontal scene” that accompanies buyers and visitors; it follows the steps and communicates the executive mastery of the Italian tradition.
De Cristoforis Gallery, Milan
Between Lake Garda and the last mountainous offshoots of the Province of Brescia lies one of the most important mining basins in Italy. Together with the Botticino and Rezzato centers, the town of Gavardo has been one of the sites from which stone materials have been extracted since time immemorial that have characterized much of the local architecture. Right here, among others, Marmi Ghirardi recently reopened a historic quarry that had been operating since 1946 and had been closed in 1970. Within a year it was made operational, and the Breccia Gotica is its “new” product: the latest addition to the family of indigenous materials.
At a close look the Breccia Gotica has a high airiness of the veins, with tonal gradations alternating deep white and tobacco streaks. The visual impact is very seductive, and the stone facies have all the qualities for distinctly architectural uses. It is, therefore, a material suitable for many classic solutions, but also for modern reinterpretation for walking surfaces and wall coverings.
The particular homogeneity of the background creates a background that makes the surface design stand out, an almost “geographical ribbing” of great suggestion. While maintaining the typical characteristics of the Breccia Classica, the Gothic variant expresses its own identity due to its extractive location. For this reason it is a material rich in compositional potential both in the version of the uniform laying and in combination with other marbles or stones.
What had been abandoned for decades and almost removed within the range of the best known limestones, today returns to light as a resource for new design applications. The exclusive opportunity offered by Marmi Ghirardi is as much a historical rediscovery as the enhancement of a rediscovered territory.
The Corvin-Plaza shopping center project was developed on the waterfront in Budapest in 2010.
Ghirardi supplied material for the indoor flooring, with about 6,000 m2 of polished Botticino Classico, 3 cm thick, for the large central areas, and 600 m2 of polished Brazilian Cosmic Black granite for the perimeter strips, also 3 cm thick.
All this happened in just 4 months, combining speed and quality of workmanship.
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