Ipercoop ESP - Ravenna - Italy
The restyling of the Ipercoop ESP retail mall at Ravenna was designed by the architect Germana Caselli with the assistance of Paolo Avellini of Inres cooperative.
Our reporter asked Ms Caselli a few questions about the project’s underlying design concept. Here are the answers she gave us:
FMG: What is the core ideal behind the restyling’s design?
CASELLI: We needed to come up with a restyling for the mall which would give it a more modern look.
First of all we needed to get rid of the rather Baroque air generated by the initial choice of materials, which featured a great deal of marble on both the floors and the walls.
We therefore decided to make the lines as simple as possible, use more technical material and put a greater focus on the use of colours, especially the corporate colour, red, in different ways on the mall’s surfaces.
This idea has been at the heart of all IGD’s latest design schemes: the use of a distinctive colour to generate a concept which would be recognisable in all the malls belonging to the organisation, a unifying feature linking them all.
FMG: What were the challenges involved?
CASELLI: The main challenge was to manage to change the mall’s look completely without modifying its structure, by removing rather than adding, simplifying and cleaning up its lines, and above all to get the project completed without having to close the mall even for a single day.
FMG: What were the chosen solutions?
CASELLI: As already mentioned, we decided to remove the marble from all the surfaces and replace it with more modern materials such as porcelain stoneware in large sizes, polycarbonate, “digital mosaic” for covering the pillars and metal mesh and shaped plasterboard for the ceilings, with very high-tech decoration on all the surfaces, from the floors to the ceilings.
We also designed a totally new lighting system, using LEDs, combining function and decoration by making the lighting a fundamental feature in the design scheme.
FMG: What were the benefits achieved?
CASELLI: The aim of revamping the mall was achieved: the use of light colours introduced greater brightness and gave the impression of more space inside the centre.
The floor covering is designed to create a sort of path that guides customers right through the mall.
FMG: What were the Customer’s needs and how did the choice of material fulfil them?
CASELLI: In this case the design started from within the customer’s own organisation: the need was to give new vitality and appeal to a mall which was already very popular with the clientèle, so we tried to give the mall’s users a real surprise by using unconventional materials and colours, totally new from those already there.
FMG: Which characteristics of the material best emphasised the context? (increased light, reduced noise, strength, elegance, high-tech appeal...)
CASELLI: Definitely a mixture of all the features you just mentioned.
FMG: How were the wall and floor coverings chosen? Which parameters did you consider essential (appearance, performance, production process, etc.)?
CASELLI: Once again, it was a mixture of the characteristics intrinsic to the floor covering material: appearance combined with technical performance, through to the reliability of the production process, especially since some of the material had to be custom produced in a particular shade of red.