The Olmedo building was built in Granada in 1953, hosting the first covered shopping gallery of the city. After giving cover to different businesses, it is occupied by the most well-known perfume store of town centre, closing in 1999 after 10 years. From this moment, the gallery becomes bit by bit deteriorated, in a way that the entrances to the different shops turn into service back doors, closed permanently with metallic blinds.
In 2010, the business placed at the inside corner of the gallery, the only one with no exit to the street, is leased to set a clothing shop. At the beginning, it was a non attractive place for this, because it was not very well lighted and it had not enough movement. Besides, the available surface was really limited, just only 33 square metres, so a review of aspects such as the shop window which in this case could not be seen from outside occupying half of the shop, was necessary.
The strategy of the project was based on the revitalizing of the total gallery, starting with this shop, operation which was done with short means and a scale- limited action, but with a great impact due to its position.
Being Juan- one of the members of the studio- a little boy, he was shopping with his mother when a lady entered one of the shops that they were visiting to buy the coat he was wearing, thinking that he was a mannequin because he was just standing next to the shop window, watching the people passing by. This experience made us reflect about the use of a shop window, about if it is really necessary to create an isolated static surface or it is more interesting to create a dynamic interactive showing space in which the mannequins are the sellers and buyers, unifying the two showing spaces: the inside and the outside of the showcase.
The project proposed a subversion of the traditional concept of a shop window, exploring the possibility of blurring the limits between the private and the public areas of a clothing store.
In this way, we could create interchanges between spaces of different characteristics. The shopwould give air, 24 hours of light to the gallery as well as an activity program able to attract visitors to the place: music sessions- the client is a well-known DJ- break dance exhibitions or showings. On the other hand, the shopping gallery would be temporarily occupied as an extension of those activities and the showing area of the store.
The strategy to materialize these objectives consisted of two actions: the enhancement of the discovered original elements of the building, recovering its identity and the building of a horizontal showcase, a glass pavement that hosts the clothing garments and the light, allowing the exhibition area to be a part of the gallery.
During the cleaning works, we discovered the structure of the building: a brick vault under the main staircase, concrete pillars and beams and even the original plaster mouldings of the ceiling that the owner recognized as being his own ones, because they are the same than he has at home-he lives at the sixth floor of the same building.
These elements were revealed after the withdrawal of the different superposed lawyers that had been added to every done restoration, reducing extremely its volume: two plaster ceilings under the main one and two walls covering the pillar- one made of brick and another on stone, and different panels placed against the walls. With this action we discovered the hidden previous lawyers, tracks of uses and activities which allow the reading of the history of the building and the store.
The building of the horizontal showcase, which equips the place to be used as a clothing store, was done with 6mm iron sheets which support the glass floor, the items and the lighting system.
The LED boards, which are sustained under the sheets by means of magnets, were manufactured by the authors of the project by cutting slides of LED, welding them and sticking them to cardboard holders to which we had attached a magnetized slide at the other side.
The floor has permanently remained switched on since November 2010, illuminating the store and the shopping gallery at the minimum cost.
The pieces of glass on the floor, with 10+10 mm are placed against the sheets by means of a translucent elastic joint. Some of them were dimensioned so they could be manipulated by 2 people in a way that the maintenance, cleaning and change of the shop window could be done easily.
Those forming the encircling were placed at the maximum possible dimensions with the aim of freeing the corner, widening the inside gallery with air and light and encouraging the relationship between the different spaces, blurring its boundaries to create new experiences and negotiations between public and private and generating a benefit for both fields.