Blessing boutiques, tiled fashion bunkers that pay tribute to Superstudio
In the two Blessing clothing boutiques in Naples and Castellammare di Stabia, designed by the practice of Neapolitan architect Carmine Abate, the surface coverings become the central focus of the entire interior design project in a tribute to the influential architecture collective Superstudio. The floor, walls and ceiling are clad with a continuous, regular light-coloured checkerboard pattern surface that evens out irregularities, niches and openings and serves as a key element of brand recognition.
The surfaces are covered with literally thousands of square white ceramic tiles (12,000 for the 50 square metre store in Naples and 20,000 for the 100 square metres of Castellammare di Stabia) that brighten up and expand the sense of space of the small interiors. The tiles were supplied by Ceramica Vogue (Interni collection, ice white colour in Naples and light blue in Castellammare) and laid in a single 10×10 cm size with dark 5 mm joints.
Despite the apparent simplicity of this aesthetic solution, it is in fact the result of meticulous attention to detail. The natural imperfections of the masonry were corrected by the use of flat plasterboard panels which served as substrates for the creation of perfectly linear, uniform surfaces.
The project is complemented by a few elegant yet highly distinctive details that draw on pop imagery and extra-disciplinary worlds and set the stores apart for their choices of materials and colours.
The uniform background is broken up by the store windows and niches that provide splashes of colour and materials: pale wood panels in the case of the Naples store and Cartier red laminate for the one in Castellammare di Stabia.
The same attention to detail that underpinned the installation of the tiles and the regular layout of the joints was also devoted to the design of the green, yellow, grey, silver, gold and imperial blue coloured furnishings consisting of wood, laminate, velvet, mirrors, fabrics and steel. The store counter, clad with elegant walnut briar veneer, stands on a reflecting mirrored base that creates the sensation of floating above the floor in contrast to the dark-coloured base of the sofas. Matt black is the solution chosen for the clothes racks, shelves and lighting fixtures.
The stores are furnished with a number of high-end Italian design accessories, including historic but still fashionable items and articles with a more contemporary design. Customers can try on shoes seated on a black Superleggera chair designed by Gio Ponti in 1957, while the counter is illuminated by light reflected from the mirror-finished stainless steel body of a Chiara lamp by Mario Bellini from 1969. At the centre of the spaces stands a table inspired by Quaderna that seems to emerge from the chequerboard floor. The red neon sign «Forever more» pays tribute to the music of singer Róisín Murphy.
Carmine Abate comments: «I realise I’m fortunate to have clients who give me free rein. Free to go on imaginary journeys. This time, as is often the case, back the 1970s of Quaderna and Superstudio. A ceramic tiled bunker: tiled on the sides, on the floor, on the ceiling. A square grid that serves as a counterpoint to objects made from sophisticated materials. A trendy, urban and fashionista clothing boutique with a powerful impact. Like the red neon sign: «Forever more». A tribute to Róisín Murphy and my lucky motto.»
Ceramica Vogue, Vogue System Serie Interni
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,5
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 30 N/mm2 min.
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): -
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme