Ceramic tiles take centre stage
Although only recently constructed, the fashion outlet «The Groove» has already established a reputation for high-class shopping in the luxury district of Incisa Valdarno. Located near the longstanding outlet The Mall in an area where the presence of major fashion brands draws an international clientele, the recently-opened outlet extends over a 42,000 square metre area and stands out for an architectural project and overall design that enable it to integrate elegantly into the green countryside of Valdarno.
The new outlet is made up of 12 units, each on two floors, standing side by side along a covered gallery about 100 metres in length closed off by a spacious and elegant restaurant area. The whole complex is served by a large car park and has areas reserved for buses, taxis and shuttles that connect it with The Mall and with railway stations and hotels throughout the Florence area.
Integration with the natural environment is achieved not only through attention to visual impact, but above all through a great sensitivity to the ecological footprint. Sustainability of the structure was the guiding principle behind the project, leading to the creation of a large photovoltaic roof and a system for natural wastewater treatment.
The intelligence of this approach is reflected in all the design choices which skilfully combine functionality and aesthetics, making The Groove a significant example of contemporary architecture successfully integrated into the landscape.
The scenery plays an important role in complementing the proposals of the shopping centre boutiques. Visitors are struck by the pleasant atmosphere, by the delightful gardens and pools with water features and the almost theatrical ability of the project to model perspectives and colours.
One very interesting aspect is the choice of ceramic tiles for both floors and walls, all designed by Atlas Concorde. Shunning the often contrived sense of continuity in architectural projects, in this case the designers have proposed a curious and captivating mix of collections with very different inspirations.
For the exterior, Plan Outdoor porcelain tile inspired by hewn stone is ideal both for its technical characteristics and for the sophisticated sparkling effect that lends dynamism to space, softening its lines. Used in the matt version for lining the large pool and the textured version for the walkways, it is successfully combined with Doga, another very interesting material inspired by wood that is also used for the interiors. Inside, on the walkways and in the bar and restaurant zones, the lane-style flooring uses the Cementi series in conjunction with the Doga series to mark out routes and create striking changes of levels. This is admirably set off by a splendid scenic wall made from Navy coloured Adore mosaic. With its intense, full-bodied colour and mirror-effect surface, this architectural element powerfully underscores the fashion and design characteristics that are to be expected in such a temple of luxury.