ADD Architecture Studio have completed the design and construction of a brand new clothing showroom named ‘’NISI’’ , located in the Greek seaside town of Preveza.
The client’s desire was to create a unique clothing "exhibition" space with the main variable being an "unconventional sales scenario". The characteristics of the existing space – its’ almost square ratio and the irregular geometry of its boundaries - directly influenced the basic design principles. The organization of the purchase-sale scenario around a central core was chosen as the main direction.
This specific decision is expressed spatially through the placement of a prism in the geometric center of the composition. This piece of furniture acts as the
reference point of our design as it defines the result of crucial elements such as movement and circulation, the layout of clothing exhibition, while at the same time "hiding" its basic function. Thus, it acquires multiple roles as the regulator of the overall design.
The exhibition scenario was broken down into separate parts around the space so as to generate a kind of "catwalk" with multiple stimuli around the central prismatic volume. The specific design strategy prolongs the stay of the visitor and contributes to the space "looking" bigger. The main materials chosen were pleated white ceramic tile, steel painted gold, mosaic tile in duo coloring and black glazed micro-tile. The central piece of furniture serving as cashier’s register-seating bench was made out of plywood in red lacque paint.
As the visitor enters the space, he/she is drawn visually by the intense red colored composition of the cashier "box" which consists of two individual elements that interact structurally, as they support each other while maintaining a sense of levitation. On the other hand, they are geometrically opposed, as the base was conceived as a light structure made by curved and thin steel profiles while the main body follows a strict orthogonality. The base functions as a bench while the solid prism gathers all cash register functions in its "inners". A steel column emerges through the cash register and further strengthens the sense of nuclearity in the new space. On top of the pillar, two steel beams are placed forming an X as they follow the two diagonal axes of the floor plan. The beams act as light bearers, supporting all spotlights used for direct illumination. This gesture "breaks" the rule of the center while at the same time - playing with perspective - it emphasizes the main walking paths of the visitor.
The perimeter walls acquire the role of a passive-aggressive background which although is characterized by textural undulation, it still remains an almost silent and color-neutral canvas that highlights the product. The hanger structures were custom-made to look like they are suspended from the walls. The facade was un-burdened from unnecessary visual obstacles, remaining as "clear" as possible in order to increase the permeability of the gaze to the greatest extent. The distinctive element of the façade is a "floating" steel hanger. Its’ geometric and structural interest manifest themselves through its’ anchoring from a single point as well as its curved end. It stands as a dynamically mobile "exhibit" for both the interior and the exterior. The concept of the static conventional hanger is revoked. The exhibited products are upgraded themselves thanks to the aesthetic particularity of the hanger.
The remaining internal facades of the showroom were conceived as visually permeable boundaries materialized by steel "bookcases" where shoes and bags are exhibited. These were set up by steel "slices" of minimum thickness and clear glass faces. Minimal material footprint leads to maximizing optical permeability. The shoe exhibition "bookcase" is also the main "thematic" frame that the visitor glances at when entering. It creates a distinct yet visually featherweight barrier, which regulates the visitors’ circulation. The steel slices positioned vertically extend up to a certain height and thus forming the mezzanine’s baluster. They also offer a sense of elevation as they emphasize the available height. A linear sub-space, almost like a corridor, is formed behind the main steel grid in the logic of extended fitting room. The mirrors create the illusion of an ever-expanding space while at the same time "hiding" the programmatic need of closed fitting roomlets.
The mezzanine communicates visually with the ground floor and functions as a secondary stock clothing exhibition, yet at the same time as an observatory of the "spectacle" of sale. The alternation of different patterns of flooring reflects the functional breaking down of the commercial space in corners, micro-paths and standing areas. Form follows Function. Patterns differentiating in size and in color complete an aesthetic proposal based on visual and color variety.
Artificial light which is always a protagonist in ADD's works follows the geometric principles of the design. The lighting study carried out by ADD is subject to the above design principles and reinforces them as it is boxed in the hangers as indirect, anchored or hung by the steel structures, "obeying" to the geometry of the space and structures. The lighting study was also based on the creation of day and night scenarios as the client desired for light to serve as an element of attraction for passers-by during the non-operating hours of the store.