Sometimes you get the perfect symbiotic relationship between client and architect. It’s like lucking out on your dance card. You score the perfect partner. Ciszak Dalmas and Matteo Ferrari had just such a partnership when they collaborated with the owners of Malababa accessory brand on their new flagship in Madrid’s Serrano 8.
Here’s where the fluidity of the dance starts. Founders Ana Carrasco and Jaime Lara are into structures that symbolize and reproduce the brand’s identifying features: light, texture, colour and shapes. And it just so happens this is everything that Dalmas and Ferrari stand for as well.
“It is in itself a return to their roots, where raw beauty’s natural sense gets established as different, authentic and truly attractive. Everything in Serrano 8 Malababa calls for an authenticity which becomes more beautiful within time. And this is precisely one of Malababa’s mantras,” said the design team.
The result is a space that has been built the same way their products are: with passion, consistency, honesty and sustainability. It is a retreat that breathes creativity. Every material selected has been done so with deliberate consideration.
The “imperfect finish” of the walls and the natural hues of Malababa’s accessory aesthetics strengthen the artisan and sustainable concept. The walls are rendered with a mix of Galician clay, white marble powder from Almería and natural, ecological and non-toxic food thickeners. This kind of finish regulates air moisture and temperature and maintains the space free of bacteria and harmful microorganisms. It also goes a considerable way to helping save energy throughout the year.
The lattice structure and mud tiles exude a welcoming warmth of traditional craftsmanship. The artisan produced bricks are manufactured in Toledo with mud from Extremadura quarries, baked in an H2G oven. They are 100% ecological, using biomass as fuel. The tiles were hand laid, one by one, by each of the involved members.
The ecocement coating in the store’s interior is sustainable and guaranteed by international certificates such as the German Emicode, which certifies low volatile compound (VOC) emissions in building materials.
Whilst sustainability is clearly an important element throughout the design, the space is not without it’s purely aesthetic wow moments. The spectacular leather curtain which covers one of the internal walls is just stunning. The architects see it as the brand, or rather, the designs of the brand morphing into the space itself. The curtain was manufactured by Malababa master craftsman Osvaldo Ruben Thomas, with entire pieces of vegetable tanned cowhide leather, the same one that’s used in the Métrica accessories collection.
The store’s furniture selection is made up of mobile modules that can be combined and rebuilt as needed. They have been manufactured using limestone from Seville, aged brass and beautiful moss agate. Some of the furniture modules are lined with the same leather used for manufacturing of Malababa’s collections. The agate crystals used to make the Minihontas and Nanohontas bags sparkle are also one of the unifying threads in this fitout. The stones take modular shapes and are harmoniously embedded into one of the wall units. It is as if they somehow made their way back to where they had always belonged.