Riccardo Ramina, Gianpiero Testa
Shopping centres have long cast off their role of anonymous spaces for the sale of goods and have evolved into consumer venues, places where people spend whole afternoons strolling from shop to shop in search of an item that will satisfy their whims, seeking a purchase, a stimulus or — as marketing experts put it — an identity.
A few months ago a new Apranga clothes chain store was opened in the Maxima shopping centre in the county of Marijampole in Lithuania.
Apranga AB is the largest Lithuanian retail company in the sector. It has a network of eighteen stores extending over more than 7,000 square metres in the five largest shopping malls in the country.
The spatial concept was developed with the objective of giving an extremely functional, minimalist image to the areas accommodating the product lines.
The surfaces were treated with soft, neutral finishes to allow visitors to perceive at first glance the lines and colours of the fashion collections illustrated in the large backlit display units identifying the individual areas.
The internal display systems, from the individual islands with satin finish steel elements to the shelves at various heights that define the visual perspective of the corridors, all fulfil the same objective: to allow the design of the products to speak for itself.
Illumination is provided by a combination of light points that can create very different alternative scenarios.
The recessed ceiling-mounted lamps provide uniform lighting with the possibility for creating spot effects; the lights incorporated into the display niches in the perimeter walls and the suspended lamps project squares of light of changing colours that highlight the garments on display.
In spite of the size of the spaces, the atmosphere is not one of a place without identity but of an intimate, comfortable environment, offering visitors numerous visual and emotional experiences.
With their neutral colour and satin finish, the natural elegance of the high-performance porcelain floor tiles adhere to the display concept of keeping the main focus on the products.
The through-body coloured porcelain tile is produced from a mixture of raw materials — including kaolins, feldspars and quartzes of different particle size — and coloured oxides, which are dry pressed and fired at temperatures of up to 1250°C to obtain very compact tiles with high performance characteristics.
This type of colouring assures total uniformity between the surface and the body so no colour differences are observed in the case of accidental chipping.
The floors and external perimeter walls of the showroom are tiled with Compass series products from Edilcuoghi Ceramiche, a collection specially designed for versatility of use with three different surface textures, seven colours, five sizes (45×90 cm, 60×60 cm, 45×45 cm, 30×60 cm and 30×30 cm), and a wide range of mosaics and accessories.
Edilcuoghi Ceramiche, Compass Series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9, R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant