Foodtainment on the banks of the Danube
The food retail sector has seen a major upturn in quality in recent years in step with sociological changes in food consumption and purchasing patterns, leading to new rites of conviviality and innovative communication and urban marketing projects. Today’s concept of integrated shopping experience is fuelling a transition from places frequented by a gourmet élite to open democratic spaces where people can meet, relax, grab a high-quality snack and enjoy metropolitan entertainment.
This large-scale international phenomenon exploits the rediscovery and appreciation of local food and drink as a medium for cultural identity. The trend is typified by Corso Gourmet, the flagship store owned by the popular national supermarket chain CBA and offering the very best of the country’s food and wine specialities under the Hungarikum brand name.
Váci utca, the pedestrian street running parallel to the Danube in the old town centre of Budapest where the store is located, is dotted with neoclassical and Art Deco buildings housing cafés, fashion stores and souvenir shops.
While the pale yellow Corso Gourmet building merges seamlessly at street level with the neighbouring facades thanks to its historic eaves and arches, at the same time it stands out conspicuously for its unique skyline. Perched on top of the building, a historic volume protected by the Fine Arts office, is a glass house, a kind of “light room” with an archetypal volume reminiscent of old cast iron and glass food halls. It is a construction with a powerful visual impact made possible by far more permissive historic heritage preservation laws than those that apply in Italy.
The architectural project extends over three levels, connected by a sequence of spaces with different characteristics: from the restaurant to the wine shop, from the supermarket to the thematic areas such as the bakery, delicatessen and the spaces devoted to food and wine tasting. The layout creates an eclectic, dynamic route, shaping materials and atmospheres to enhance the dramatic effect of the sudden explosion of light that greets visitors when they enter the glass restaurant. The semicircular wine store space is dark, cosy and introspective, whereas the restaurant at the top of the building is spacious and conducive to communication. This impression is further enhanced by the materials chosen for the floor coverings: dark stone for the former, wood for the latter. In reality both products are porcelain tiles from Atlas Concorde, a famously chameleonic material capable of assuming the appearance of any natural surface while guaranteeing high mechanical performance and ease of maintenance, essential characteristics for high foot traffic retail structures like this. The elegance of the dark stone, which in the Seastone Grey collection is dotted with multiform traces of fossils, alternates with the familiar texture of Palissandro (rosewood) from the Etic line, whose textured matt surface faithfully reproduces the knots and roughness of wood to create a timeworn effect. The traditional, warm feel of this material plays an important role in the restaurant, where it balances the unexpected and slightly cold modernity of the glass and steel. The rear brick wall and the vaguely retro red and brown upholstered chairs further emphasise this material link to the past.
Atlas Concorde, Etic series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <= 0.1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <=150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R >= 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant