The concept behind the new Miele Inspirience Centre reflects the broad array of functions requested by the company when commissioning the building, namely selling its products while informing and educating its customers and allowing them to enjoy an authentic brand experience.
The various areas devoted to washing machines and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and ironing machines, coffee makers and refrigerators, cook tops and ovens have thus become a showcase of the advanced functions of the electrical appliances on display. Touch screens located alongside the various corners allow customers to scrutinise the performance characteristics of the various models while large-scale reproductions focus attention on the latest-generation products.
For the kitchen sector the display space has evolved to include areas for educating customers. Courses led by renowned chefs can be hosted either in the retail area, which is organised as a set of workstations, or in the fully-equipped conference rooms. There is also a bar and restaurant, which in addition to serving customers can also be used for product demonstrations.
This broad functional mix has resulted in a building with extremely simple lines; the tallest parallelepiped-shaped central building which houses the offices faces onto a large patio organised around an artificial lake.
Continuity between the internal and external spaces is achieved through the use of a single finishing material: the floor covering consisting of double-pressed porcelain tiles with a very similar colour and texture to that of natural stone.
This natural appeal of the surface coverings in the offices and all the other interior and exterior spaces contrasts with the interior design of the retail areas, which have an essential, total-white look that focuses attention on the product, its technical characteristics and its styling. The only extraordinary elements are the restaurant and reception spaces, which become reference points within the display spaces.
In keeping with the concept of the project, the kitchen appliance area is organised along the lines of a showcooking set. The spaces feature groups of islands to enable customers to take part in the food preparation sessions led by renowned international chefs. In this area, functionality and aesthetics combine harmoniously in accordance with the idea of combining the retail spaces with a capacity to create interactive experiences that share the company brand values. And it is precisely in this area that the choice of a natural floor covering – natural in terms not only of the appearance but also of the sustainability of the production processes, given that the ceramic tiles boast Ecolabel certification – meets the need for high technological performance, delivering stain, wear and abrasion resistance as well as non-slip properties. The use of Double Pressed technology (a pressing cycle repeated in two stages) enables the Double Stone porcelain tiles from Fiordo Industrie Ceramiche, used as a floor covering, to faithfully reproduce the surface of natural stone. Through dry application of coloured spray-dried porcelain tile powders and various body mixtures, different colour effects are obtained within the tile body, reproducing the irregular mottle effects typical of natural stone.
The natural colours, the sharply hewn surface of stone and the irregular chamfer underscore the natural aesthetic and technical qualities of the series.