Paris Boutique - Interview with architect Duccio Grassi

Paris Boutique - Interview with architect Duccio Grassi

February 4 saw the successful inauguration of the Ariostea Boutique on Paris’ central Rue de la Pepiniere: a particularly prestigious showroom presenting Ariostea’s most exclusive collections to the city of Paris and all of France.

Conceived and designed by DUCCIO GRASSI ARCHITECTS of Reggio Emilia, the highly refined Boutique is a masterpiece of order, apparent simplicity, cleanliness and completeness.
Let’s see how Duccio Grassi designed the showroom spaces and the Boutique, in the architect’s own words.

What is the central idea the project revolves around?

We agreed with the company that we did not want to make a traditional ceramics showroom, like so many others, where the quantity of products on display often compromises clarity.
We wanted to give form to a space that would convey the values of Italian creativity, of a material that is both old and new, a material worth discovering - ceramics - and a modern company open to innovation.
The clean, orderly spaces are a reference to the mental discipline and self-confidence of a company that has been a leader in its field for decades.

Did you draw inspiration from your client’s wishes or from the architectural and environmental context?

I think each project must take form through a process of maturation in which the client not only can but must make a contribution.
That was true in this case.
The project’s relationship with its surroundings, with the city, is very important.
The showroom’s location near the Opera encouraged us to reflect on the concepts of sobriety and elegance.

What were the challenges involved in this project?

The biggest challenge in this space was targeting a highly evolved public used to sophisticated aesthetic experiences, as well as architects and interior designers, using a comprehensible language that would demonstrate how our ceramic materials can be used in prestigious settings.

What solutions have been adopted?

In this project we introduced the showroom concepts we had already studied and implemented for the group in the shoplab programme.
We reduced the quantity of goods on view immediately and hid all structures and mechanisms.
Formal cleanliness promotes clear exposition.
We came up with a more evocative alternative to the conventional display panel: a 120 cm high strip on the back wall.
We came up with the idea of lighting boxes showing images of projects using our products with counters in the middle of the room on which to exhibit the products and let people touch them.
There is of course also a very big invisible container. New materials are shown in temporary installations in the two showcases facing out onto the city.

What benefits have you obtained?

In this way the showroom environment becomes a neutral field in soft hues in which the product stands out. The client’s attention is not distracted, and the quality of the ceramic material can easily be recognised, making it an “object of desire”.