La Melguiza — Madrid, Spain

La Melguiza — Madrid, Spain

On reflection, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken this long for saffron to be given its just dues as a retail experience; but if anyone was going to do it, it would have been Marta Huerva Pascual and David Sáenz Condado. Well-known in the small world of gourmet specialists for their dedication to olive oil, the intrepid Spanish duo felt the time was right for a shop devoted entirely to saffron, one of the world’s most valuable spices.

When an old shoe store in Madrid’s medieval quarter – a few streets from Plaza Major and the sublime Chocolateria San Gines – became available, they snapped it up and tapped Zooco Estudio for the interiors.

Riffing off saffron’s golden hues and its feathery weight, the locally-based designers invested the narrow glass-fronted space with an open-plan, chipping out little vitrines in the walls to hold gourmet and cosmetic products made of the precious threads – all sourced from Spanish saffron, the highest quality being from Teruel in eastern Spain and Castilla-La Mancha. 

Adding to the serenity and sensation of floating, Zooco suspended pendant lamps in clusters of transparent boxes – a Zooco visual trademark – the soft light a perfect counterpoint to the stone floor and timber ceiling which are meant to evoke traditional saffron-processing barns. 

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