The store appears to the visitor almost as an enchanted palace set in a rationalist building. As in the Royal Stable of Meknes or the Mosque of Cordoba, a succession of arches define a perspective. The arch, primary icon of architecture, archetype of construction and protection, and icon of Italy throughout history, in its airy, slender variant, codified by 13th century Italian painting and often cited by De Chirico, rediscovers in this work its double value of connection and separation of parts. A delicate balancing of pearlescent greys, mauve greens, intense magenta, crystalline marbles, real and false as a toy, and a flat blue painted throughout the structure, form the palette of the scene.
The wall pierced by the sequence of the arches creates space, exhibition areas, and technological, lighting and climate control designs. Set in a metre square grille, each arched aperture articulates the space giving it a multiplicity of uses: walkway, alcove for mannequins, displays, frontal and lateral hanging rail. The light defines the space. The existing ceilings, free of the dazzle of downlights, are laid out limpidly in deep blue, whose blurred reflections record the luminous movement beneath. On the first floor a corona of light radiates towards the ceiling from the interrupted walls of the rooms, defining their form. For the rest, the light is emitted and articulated by the displays inside the alcoves which incorporate, above and below the floor, banks of LEDs on objects, giving them prominence. Thus the coloured greys of the architecture are underpinned by the changing colours of the clothes and accessories. Lastly, returning to classical iconography, the brand is displayed at the focal points of the building. At the rear of the stairs on the ground floor, just after the exit, and in the two opposing apses of the long gallery on the first floor.
Time: April 2012
Place: Corso XXII Marzo, 4, Milan, Italy
Area: 450 square metres
Cost estimate: 800,000 EUR
Architect: Antonino Cardillo
Thanks to Antonio Sechi
Arcade Store © Antonino Cardillo