Arteixo, Spain, 2016-Nov-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — This Friday, 28 October, Massimo Dutti will inaugurate its new flagship store in Barcelona, which is housed in an architectural jewel of Catalan Modernism from the end of the 19th century, the Casa Ramón Casas. The Inditex Group has carried out significant renovation and refurbishment works to this iconic building to enhance its uniqueness and splendour.
The new store, located at Paseo de Gracia no. 96, in one of the world’s most important retail areas, boasts more than 2,000 m² of retail space where Massimo Dutti will display its Women, Men, Boys&Girls, Personal Tailoring and Limited Edition collections. All of the collections are showcased in an impressive space where innovative architectural and decorative elements are combined with the original features of the building, which have been restored and refurbished to the benefit of the city of Barcelona. What’s more, since the brand is always at the cutting-edge of where fashion and technology meet, Massimo Dutti has implemented a series of activities with the aim of offering new purchasing experiences based on innovation, adaptation to customers’ new needs, and the implementation of the latest energy-saving advances.
Following an exhaustive refurbishment process carried out by Massimo Dutti’s architecture studio along with technicians from Barcelona’s Historical Heritage and Parks and Gardens authorities, Casa Ramón Casas (also known as Casas-Carbó), has recovered the modernist essence that the architect Antoni Rovira i Rabassa imagined in his building designs in the year 1898, commissioned by the painter Ramón Casas. A powerful original architecture and interior decoration have recovered their former glory in this renovated building, which has always been linked to the world of art and fashion.
Apart from being the artist’s place of residence and work during the first half of the 20th century, as of the 1950s the building housed the workshop of the Catalan haute couture designer, Asunción Bastida, and the iconic designer gift shop of Enrique Levi and Hugo Vinçon.
The restoration project carried out by Massimo Dutti was based on rigorous research and historical documentation in order to get to know the original layout of the building, the materials used and the distribution of ornamental features. Access via the main door on the ground floor allows visitors to appreciate how features such as the original ceiling and other ornamental details that in the past made this building a light-filled, harmonious space have been recuperated. Some of the artistic details of this part of the building include an old interior patio that allows the natural light to flood in, and the restoration of Ramón Casas’ artist’s studio.
On the first floor, the restoration process placed a special emphasis on work to restore reliefs and plaster corbels, the stripping of wooden surfaces, and cleaning and improvements to the coffered ceilings typical of modernist decoration. In particular, significant restoration work was carried out to the majestic chimneypiece designed by Josep Pascó i Mensa, the flooring, and coffered ceilings (for further information see appendix).
In the interior patio, an exquisite example of Catalan modernist architecture, the restoration work has respected the charm of this Mediterranean oasis with a landscaping project from the British landscape architects, Harry and David Rich.
Eco-efficiency: a brand commitment
The new store is in line with the Inditex Group’s most advanced concepts of sustainability, principles that have been followed both in the restoration project and in the store’s commercial operations. Electricity consumption has been reduced by some 30% and water consumption by 40% in comparison with conventional stores. The eco-efficiency measures implemented include a store lighting system that optimizes the lighting of the furnishings, and the exclusive use of LED bulbs. The lighting system also enables partial lighting of store spaces depending on the time of day and tasks to be carried out, as well as automatic activation when a presence is detected in internal working areas.
Optimal air conditioning and ventilation are achieved using thermal insulation, and a ventilation control that varies according to space occupation, calculated using CO2 measurements. The equipment installed employs inverter technology capable of regulating itself depending on the demand for heating or cooling, adapting at all times to consumption needs. The air curtain is controlled by probe and allows three working levels depending on the air temperature on the premises. Finally, control and monitoring devices allow instant distance readings of consumption levels, making it possible to detect and correct any anomaly affecting the use of the facilities and their consumption.
The building also engages in efficient water usage, and interior spaces are planned for the recycling of materials.
Technology at the service of customers. The explosion of 3.0 technology including social networks and mobile services has led to the appearance of new, omni-channel trends that serve to connect the virtual and online world with brick-and-mortar stores, making the point of sale a space where emotions can take flight.
Always at the cutting-edge of where fashion and technology meet, Massimo Dutti has implemented a series of activities with the aim of offering new purchasing experiences based on innovation and adaptation to customers’ new needs. These activities include:
Dynamic marketing screens. These allow the continual publication and broadcast of the brand’s own contents, reflecting its physical and aspirational world.
Personal Shopper Fitting Room. This fitting room is designed especially for the brand’s Personal Shopper Service, available in store. In this space, customers will be able to view the garments they have selected in high-definition before trying them on, as well as select complementary items to complete a full look suitable for any occasion.
Interactive fitting rooms. This is one of the brand’s most revolutionary technological projects. Before customers go into the fitting rooms to try on clothing, garments are scanned and appear automatically on the fitting room screen. Using the touch screens located in fitting rooms, customers can consult information on the garments they have chosen or request a different size from the fitting room itself.
This system also has an innovative feature that proposes complementary or similar items to the customer using Visual Search Technology.
Buyable windows. This pioneering initiative from Massimo Dutti allows customers to buy the items displayed in the stores’ shop windows via the Massimo Dutti app for iOS. No matter what time of day it is, if a customer likes what they see in a store window they will be able to buy it. By connecting to the brand’s app and using geolocation, customers can view a screen featuring all the products on display in store windows at the moment, with the possibility of purchasing them immediately and picking them up at the most convenient point of sale at the time that best suits them.
Easy Checkout. In response to the Inditex Group’s desire to offer new alternatives to its customers to make their shopping trips easier, the company has created a new kind of quick checkout that allows customers to check out and pay for their purchases themselves. Located near to the fitting rooms, this new payment system speeds up the payment process using touch screens, tag removal devices and pin pads.
Free Wi-Fi for customers and staff. Advances in technology offer many chances to make the customer experience in both brick-and-mortar and online stores into something unique. Massimo Dutti reflects these advances, offering the possibility of enjoying free Wi-Fi to customers and staff alike. Thanks to this new free connectivity in store, customers will be able to enjoy an interactive experience using the new version of Massimo Dutti’s app, which includes a whole range of updates.
Mobile checkout. This service offers customers the chance to pay for premium services via mobile device, making its easier for customers to pay without having to go to the till area.
Mobile wallet payment. Massimo Dutti’s new online store app includes the innovative new mobile wallet payment service. Available for iOS devices, it allows users to buy products directly from their mobile using any card previously registered with the app. Customers will merely have to display a QR code generated by the app itself in order to make payment in a secure way. The mobile wallet also allows users to save a digital version of all of their receipts on their device.
Fashion and art
As part of its mission to recuperate the artistic essence of this building, Massimo Dutti has embarked on a collaboration with the Barcelona Side Gallery in order to offer installations by internationally renowned artists on the premises. On the occasion of the inauguration of this store, the sculptor laurent martin “Lo” will be holding an art event in the store with three large-scale pieces made from bamboo that explore the aesthetic possibilities of a material not usually associated with the fine arts.
Massimo Dutti was founded in 1985 in Spain as a men’s fashion brand. It launched its first womenswear collection in 1992, offering a variety of styles from the most casual to the most sophisticated and timeless pieces. Today, Massimo Dutti has some 770 stores in 73 countries in Europe, America and Asia.
The brand belongs to the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion distributors with more than 7,000 stores in 92 countries across the five continents. Apart from Massimo Dutti, Inditex operates another seven fashion brands: Zara, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe.
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