Fabulous shoes for a fabulous town
Maria Giulia Zunino
Skechers shoes have arrived in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. The famous U.S. brand designs and produces over 3000 models of footwear for men, women and children, and markets its products all over the world. The company also opened recently in the Italian town of San Giacomo.
Twenty-five years have passed since Robert Greenberg incorporated Skechers in the Californian town of Manhattan Beach and began making a name for himself in business. Often controversial, Greenberg has since become a living legend. Son of an enterprising grocer, Greenberg attended a school for hairdressers and opened his first salon at the age of 20. Success was instant and he soon found himself at the head of a growing chain of beauty parlours. That was the first sign of Greenberg’s flair for business. It also marked the start of an impulsive desire to seize whatever opportunity passed his way. Greenberg went on to open and close a whole series of companies in areas ranging from hair care to aerobics and eventually fashion. The only constant in his career has been his challenge of convention. «Things that change,» Greenberg insisted, «have opportunities in them all the time. Stodgy things don’t change no glamour, no dance shows, no hoopla.»
Glamour is certainly one of the pillars on which Skechers has built its success. It pervades every aspect from design (the company makes high performance technical footwear, luminous sneakers, shoes decorated with glitter and sequins, and machine washable models) to marketing and communications (Skechers is closely associated with charity initiatives to help abandoned dogs).
All of this fits in perfectly with the two faces of Santiago de Campostela. The city is the destination of a long and arduous religious pilgrimage, but also boasts a young, carefree side and is home to a large number of night clubs and entertainment venues. Santiago is a melting pot of languages and ethnicities thanks to the crowds that converge on the cathedral dedicated to Saint James, the first apostle to suffer martyrdom. Tradition has it that angels returned James’ decapitated body from Jerusalem to the church where he often preached and is now believed to be buried. The city is rich in different architectural styles too, with Galician Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, modern, and contemporary international buildings.
In Santiago de Campostela, different lifestyles and interests integrate in an atmosphere of mutual respect, enriching the city and adding to its attraction. This respectful cohabitation of past and present provides the theme for the city’s new Skechers store. The project’s reassuring look enhances the historical aura of the building while emphasising the modern styling of the shoes on display. There is no visual barrier between outdoors and indoors so the store’s interior can be seen and appreciated from outside. No violence has been done to the space inside: it has simply been rearranged. The racy Skechers logo emblazoned on the façade forcefully announces the products inside and is repeated on the floor at the entrance for maximum effect. Inside, lines of shelves along the side walls create a telescopic effect, making the brand name on the back wall appear smaller and magnifying the sensation of depth.
In respect for local tradition, the materials of the refurbished interior have not been changed. The walls have merely been restored to bare brickwork, creating an attractive texture and highlighting the craftsmanship of the builders. No attempt has been made to hide the scars left by the passage of time. The ceiling is painted in a plain, dark colour that is broken up only by the tracks that hold the spotlights. What adds a touch of modernity to the store is its floor. Thanks to Italgraniti’s advanced ceramic decoration technology, this evokes an authentic sensation of old, recycled wood. Scrapwood long porcelain tiles create a «lived-in» look but also satisfy the requirements of strength, durability, hygiene and easy maintenance typical of modern stores.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,5
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 175 mm3
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
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant