680 square feet – Barcelona, Spain – 2009
The principle idea behind the Lurdes Bergada flagship store in Barcelona is to provide clients the sensation of shopping at a street market. To allow for maximum penetration of daylight, the space is divided into two clearly defined areas. The first area, including the technical spaces such as fitting rooms and storage, is stowed behind a beachwood divider, leaving the rest of the store available for the main shopping floor. People can enter from both the street side or the park side.
The store’s design intends to reinforce the Bergada brand identity of simplicity, purity, and industry. Materials such as concrete and cement simplify the architectural reading of the store. The natural beachwood skin stands in contrast to the surrounding cement, lending the wooden structure a contemporary, cavelike appearance.
At first glance, the Lurdes Bergada flagship store’s industrial appearance echoes the brand’s promise of simplicity and purity. Unfortunately, the store’s staunch adherence to minimalism results in minimal answers. Based on the design of this store, one would assume Lurdes Bergada is more interested in projecting the image of simplicity than in uncovering the nuances of functionality. The space fails when you consider basic design ideas like acoustics and lighting.
In terms of acoustics, the only soft surfaces in the space are the clothes, which are sparse. Sounds may be shrill in this space, bouncing from one hard surface to another.
When you consider the lighting, which is central to the design concept, you discover how
Deardesign missed their target. Their attempt to incorporate as much natural daylight as possible was supplemented with eight foot, 5000K, fluorescent strip lights mounted on the ceiling. These lamps mimic the color appearance of natural daylight. The unintended effect is a vast, shadowless space with hardly any hierarchy of light levels. The diffuse fluorescent lights wash out shadows, poorly modeling the clothing’s textures. More light is landing on the huge, boring cement wall than on the merchandise. These lighting design flaws may be overlooked elsewhere, but they are near suicide in retail.
Sure, the solutions are simple, but they are superficial too. At the Lurdes Bergada flagship store, simplicity takes precedence over nuance, and image over comfort. The result? Indifferent, insecure, and impersonal architecture, highly stylized in clichés.
“Lurdes Bergada / Dear design” 02 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 03 Feb 2013.
Deardesign (2009) A Contrasted Space. Retrieved February 3, 2013 from