Shopping in the 'enchanted palace'

Wednesday 16 Jan 2013

Antonino Cardillo Architect creates another world for the Arcade Store in Milan

As visitors enter the store, it appears almost as an enchanted palace set in a rationalist building. The architect, Antonino Cardillo, has taken inspiration from grand and expressive spaces such as the royal stable of Meknes or the mosque of Cordoba.

The design incorporates a dense succession of parallel arches which define the perspective. The arch has been chosen due to its iconic status, an archetype of construction and protection, and also because of its dominance within Italian Architectural History.

The arch has been rediscovered in this work, focusing on its double syntactic value, simultaneously providing a connection between spaces and also acting as a separating element. The design incorporates a delicate balance of pearlescent greys, light mauve greens, intense magenta, crystalline marbles into its material palette.

The walls are all pierced by this sequence of the arches which creates a series of spaces, exhibition areas, which have technological, lighting and climate control designs. Set in a metre square grid, each arched aperture articulates each space, giving it a multiplicity of uses: walkway; alcove for mannequins; displays; frontal and lateral hanging rail.

Cardillo's design has focused on the use of lights to define each of the spaces. Where ceilings once held downwards-facing lights, instead they have been completely removed and are located in the lower half of the space. The blurred reflections record the movement beneath.  

On the first floor a series of lights radiates upwards from the interrupted walls of the rooms. Other light is emitted and articulated by the displays inside the alcoves which incorporate LED lights above and below the floors, giving them prominence within the room. This lighting design enables the coloured greys of the architecture to be contrasted the changing colours of the clothes and accessories.

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