Appointed to renovate the old Guarnaschelli building in Palermo to contain a new Mondadori Multicenter in 2008, Kallipigia architectural studios addressed this project for renewal of a historic building in the Sicilian capital with the right respect for the location and with the clear goal of making it into a meeting-place which people would enjoy using and which would play a central role in the life of the city. Located on Via Ruggero Settimo, considered the town’s “salon” for its central location and the elegance of its boutiques, the Mondadori store needed to create an image of openness towards this dynamic city with spaces that would offer opportunities for cultural dialogue as well as places for research, consultation and buying.
Formerly home to the La Rinascente department store, the building is well-known to the people of the city for its severe façade, which Kallipigia’s project underlines with the addition of a series of red panels bearing the white Mondadori logo, emphasising the architectural rhythm of the windows in the building. The ground floor is characterised by new shop windows and a high impact entrance in the Mondadori colours, created using 90x30 tiles of Eiffelgres Sensible Sign Red porcelain stoneware.
Visual depth and continuity are the key concepts in the interior design on all levels, with the floor used as an essential element in the definition of space. To promote a perception of unity of different spaces, fluidity of different goods on sale and communication between public spaces, the floor was covered with Pietralavica Starwhite throughout the sales area, in the zones specifically dedicated to different types of product (Emporio, Mondo Bambino, Apple space, HD TV space), as well as in information areas on all levels and hospitality areas (with chairs and a reading area on the bookshop level) and the demo area where customers can try out products. The surfaces characterised by big 60x30 tiles are interrupted here and there by porcelain stoneware tiles from the same line made by Eiffelgres in the Sand colour to add variation and depth to the big sales areas.
The choice of materials was also influenced by the aim of creating an orderly image and ensuring adequate light, plus performance capacity (great resistance to wear and to loads, durability), and, no less importantly, an environmentally friendly productive process. To these architectural features of the container, the architects added contents consisting of custom-made fittings in line with the expressive purity of the surfaces used in the project.
The event space on the building's top floor, with its all-white elegance, is designed like a salon with a view over the city of Palermo. Here there are two big rooms, one for reading and one for events: on this level too, the floor follows the choices made on the levels below, with greater use of Pietralavica Sand porcelain stoneware in the convention halls, where there are red chairs for the public. The choice of finishes meets the client’s primary goal of emphasising the shopping experience, creating a neutral space in which the focus would clearly be on the brand’s stimuli and products, to make sure that customers experience shopping as satisfaction of a variety of different needs.
Work is now underway on renovating the store in Rome, where the interior concept confirms the choice of Eiffelgres for all the floors.
Design: Kallipigia Architects (Elisa Innocenti, Giovanni Cipriani)
Lighting design: iGuzzini
Gross usable floor space: 2800 m2
Project start date: 2008
Eiffelgres Sensible Red porcelain stoneware in the entrance
Flooring on all levels made of Pietralavica Starwhite and Pietralavica Sand porcelain stoneware