Hip rug company Nanimarquina has opened its first shop, having chosen Barcelona as the perfect city in which to do so. It’s a very unusual shop where customers can appreciate the rugs’ beauty at first hand and familarise themselves with the essence of the brand, namely its flair for giving tradition a contemporary twist.
The 750m sq, three-storey premises – situated at the intersection of one of Barcelona’s main shopping drags, Avenida Diagonal, and calle Rosellón – occupy a former car park, some of whose original features have been retained, from an entrance ramp and original paving stones to its structural beams. The result is a grittily industrial, ultra-modern style which constrasts strikingly with the vibrantly colourful rugs on display.
Dotted around the shop, which was designed by architect Robert Palli and which opened last December, is decorated with tiny, intriguing treasures which the designer Nani Marquina and her team have picked up on their travels to Asia, Africa and South America – a cornucopia of artesanal objects like baskets, textiles, little cups, blankets, cushions and teapots, many of which have provided inspiration for the brand’s designs. More specifically, these include such stunning objects as lungis – squares of fabric worn around the waist, generally by Hindus brooms made in India out of twigs.
On the top floor, there’s a kitchen which gives visitors the chance to taste teas and coffees from all over the world; next to this are two big tables designed to be used for institutional and business meetings, product launches and important media events.
This project, which has long been a dream of Nani Marquina’s and which has finally come to fruition, demonstrates the company’s commitment to putting its customers in direct contact with its designs – something it considers a key part of its business strategy. ‘Until recently, we sold our designs via distributors, but we now want to sell these more directly to our customers. We also want to create a space where customers can appreciate our products at first hand – and learn more about the brand and its core values,’ explains Marquina, who describes the showroom as being more of a gallery than a shop.