Esrawe Studio designs conceptual retail space for Grupo Arca

Esrawe Studio designs conceptual retail space for Grupo Arca

Esrawe studio has designed a retail, exhibition, warehouse and workspace for Grupo Arca, a global platform for sourcing and disseminating natural and technological raw materials. The new building, located in Guadalajara, Mexico, was aesthetically inspired by the form of a quarry – described by the designers as a typology in itself, a manmade space sculpted through the search for raw materials, described by Edward Burtynsky as a ‘manufactured landscape’.

Grupo Arca wanted a building that expressed its desire to combine the construction industry with the cultural and creative expression of Mexico. They turned to Mexico City-based cross-disciplinary design atelier Esrawe. For them, blending traditionally siloed disciplines has become second nature – founded by designer Héctor Esrawe in 2003, the studio freely crosses from furniture and objects to interiors, commercial spaces, installations and cultural exhibitions and back again.

Courtyard space
Photography: Jamie Navarro

Taking the quarry as the starting point for the design, Esrawe sculpted an imposing façade that echoes the monolithic nature of a rock face. A small entrance exacerbates the dramatic scale further still, yet inside visitors are confronted by a welcoming space that feels more like a museum lobby than that of a retail space. Creative displays and subtle way-finding guide people towards a Design Center, cafe, and a multipurpose events space.

Architecturally and conceptually, creativity sits side by side with industry. In addition to this cultural building, a second separate volume performs as a ‘functional container’ for a storage warehouse and distribution centre. The warehouse is equipped to help users discover materials through QR codes that with a simple scam provide the description and costs of selected materials – which also feeds into a database of previous purchases, trends and purchasing behaviour. Meanwhile, a huge opening overlooking the surrounding forest, always reminds professionals of the origins of the materials they are browsing. §

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