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The sophisticated simplicity of the new Leica Store – Turin
Leica Camera AG, the historic German brand and world leader in the manufacture of cameras and optical equipment, opens its new store in the heart of Turin.
Located on a corner, five store windows overlook the very central Via Giuseppe Mazzini, and one large window overlooks Via Carlo Alberto. The interior space of the new Leica store comprises three square rooms that follow one another along a axis of perspective in a sequence of rooms and doorways.
The entrance to the first room has a large cross vault where the symmetry and volume give the space a pleasant sense of welcome and stability. The walls are over 60 cm thick and from each room you glimpse what is happening in the next.
The entrance is dedicated to presenting the products in the brand’s traditional display units. The second room is dedicated to the living area, with video walls that project photographs of the products and videos of the brand, then the third room is home to the Akademie, full of exhibition walls and dedicated to workshops and photography courses.
The store concept is inspired by art with a tribute to Turin’s Carlo Mollino, the famous architect, designer, aviator and, above all, photographer. Carlo Mollino has always accorded photography a prominent role, using it both as a means of expression and as a fundamental tool for archiving and documenting his work and daily life. Just as the architect Mollino always interpreted his interiors in a scenographic way, using mirrors and rich velvet curtains, the Leica store has covered its walls with sumptuous velvet in the Leica red. Video walls come out of the wall and the curtains act as a backdrop thus emphasising the rooms.
The second homage to art is the absolute, opaque black which emphasises the thickness of the wall panels in an optical illusion and gives a nod to the colour black, the artistic signature of Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor.
The grey terrazzo flooring with a scattering of coloured chips laid in a large form unites the modern with tradition. The living area in the central room gives a familiar sense of cosiness, where a large video wall takes the place of a fireplace.
The lighting is concealed and integrated into the space. In the first room, light is, for the most part, diffused indirectly and highlights the shape of the vault. In the second room, everted circles – another shape favoured by Mollino – create an effect of indirect light, giving the atmosphere a subtle appearance.
Architect Alessia Garibaldi, founder of Garibaldi Architects Milan, which designed the store interiors, after having designed the Leica stores in London, Madrid, Porto, Istanbul, Rome and Florence, explains, ‘everything is played out in a dialogue between pure white volumes with minimal lines, the architecture and photography. The architectural and interior design elements combine perfectly with the fine cameras and precious velvets to create a seductive atmosphere that satisfies the expectations of the most sophisticated clients.’
Arch. Alessia Garibaldi