Grocery Store Minuscoli - Grumello Del Monte (BG)

Contemporary ceramics for time-honoured flavours

In a recently refurbished historic grocery store, ceramic tiles and wood complement traditional culinary products
Santino Limonta
Jessica Belotti - Project Service
Lombarda Ceramiche
Year of completion

Grumello del Monte, a municipality in the northern Italian province of Bergamo, is located on the “Valcalepio” Provincial Road 91 close to the border with the province of Brescia. With its hilly terrain at the feet of the Orobie Alps and a mild climate afforded by proximity to Lake Iseo, it is a traditional wine producing area and boasts a number of wines that have gained DOC status in recent years. The ancient origins and mediaeval past of Grumello Del Monte are still witnessed today by the castle and the nucleus of local stone buildings clustered around Piazza Camozzi in the town’s historic centre. This elegant, bustling square is home to the Minuscoli bakery, a modern-day version of the time-honoured family store. Bringing together the past and present of the local culinary tradition, it sells homemade bread and cakes, cold meats and local wines. The store has a highly elongated rectangular layout and extends in depth perpendicular to the street-front window and entrance, while a structural column located about three-quarters of the way along one of the sides makes it difficult to use the floor space effectively. The store recently underwent a major refurbishing project with a number of key goals: to reinterpret the shop’s history without losing sight of its function, to modernise its now outdated look, and to facilitate everyday operations. In the previous situation, the poor layout of the furnishings, the need to accommodate an unusual combination of different product types and the ingrained practice of exhibiting an excessive number of items created a sense of visual cacophony and worst of all hindered the normal flow of customers. “Taking account of the fact that there is just a single door serving as both entrance and exit and given the small size and rigid nature of the interiors,” explained interior designer Jessica Belotti who planned the work on behalf of Project Service, “we immediately realised that it was important to reorganise the interior spaces, to rationalise the typical purchasing process of a traditional non self-service store: entry, time spent choosing products, ordering, preparation, check-out, exit.” It was equally important to choose materials that would achieve the uniform visual identity sought by the designer and at the same time provide the necessary tactile consistency (the warmth of wood, the rustic appeal of rock) and colours (the tones of the earth and wheat, the white of milk) to enhance the traditional appeal of the products on display. The choice of ceramic tiles fell on honed, large-format porcelain from Gardenia Orchidea Group’s Infinity Stone line, which was suitable for all rooms in the store. Porphyry coloured 120×120 cm tiles were chosen for the floor, white coloured 60×120 cm format tiles for the walls, central column and the external section of the twelve-metre display counter, where they function as structural elements. The refurbishment was carried out during the traditional holiday closure period. After stripping out the interiors, new plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems were installed. Plasterboard work was done, including a vaulted ceiling to create the idea of a gallery and to facilitate the redistribution of air ducts and electricity. The floor and wall tiles were installed, then the interior doors and the windows were fitted, followed by the counter, shelves and technical equipment. All of this took just twenty days. To avoid creating visual interference with the essential lines of the furnishings, the lighting design opted for indirect lighting and recessed fixtures with environmentally friendly LED sources. All wooden items were made from brushed oak treated with eco-friendly white and burnt earth coloured coatings, which coordinated with the white and porphyry of the ceramic tiles.

Gardenia Orchidea, nfinity Stone series
porcelain stoneware
60x120, 120x120 cm
bianco, porfido
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): Class 5
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 gruppo B
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
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