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A shopping mecca which captures the imagination

What happens when an international star designer discovers expanded metal

"凄い, sugoi", is what the Japanese say when they consider something particularly chic, magnificent and modern. 綺麗 - kirei - is the correct term when femininity plays a role. It is no wonder that the new flagship store of La Perla, with its sensual appearance designed by interior design star Roberto Baciocchi is in the spotlight with lots of expanded metal from MEVACO: Not only 凄い sugoi, but also 綺麗 kirei. And what does the maestro himself have to say about it? "I want to surprise the visitors and capture their imagination. They should feel comfortable and immerse themselves in this unique world. My rooms and spaces are always invitations to dream and discover hidden wishes. This is also one of the reasons why I chose MEVACO expanded metal: Because it fits so well with the nature of women. One sees the surface, the outside, but much more shines through underneath - the mysterious side is yet to be discovered."

Lingerie as valuable as jewellery

In 1954, when she opened her small lingerie atelier in Bologna had Ada Masotti already dreamed that the La Perla brand created by her would one day become one of the top brands in this world? Nevertheless she confidently presented her initial collections in chests lined with red velvet, a reminder of jewellery boxes. When interior designer Roberto Baciocchi set to work on designing the new flagship store of La Perla in the trendy Aoyama district in the heart of Tokyo, he revived the idea of the perfect packaging: "The qualities of the building are derived from shapes inspired by femininity", he adds. "This is why the expensive lingerie is showcased in cabinets which look like huge pearls. This idea also gave me the inspiration to use expanded metal, because it is a reminder of tulle and lace in a modern and technical way; of the veil which is only removed to discover the mystery of a woman. Expanded metal reminds me of transparency and the hidden, like hair or foulards. I always work with strong symbols which I translate into modernity and the material, because I know that people react with lots of emotion."

Expanded metal, carefully powder-coated and processed

1.5 mm thick MEVACO expanded metal, rhomb 76x35x11 made from steel, with subsequent powder-coating, as well as 1.0 mm thick MEVACO expanded metal, rhomb 16x8x1.5, made from steel, also powder-coated after production, were used. Roberto Baciocchi chose a special lavish finish in a gold colour, for which the panels were first cut, then framed and subsequently coated

A magnet in the trendy nightlife district of Aoyama

The La Perla flagship store has quickly become a magnet in Aoyama. Not far from Shinjuku, the busiest train station in the world, countless visitors can marvel at the golden splendour of the unusual structure every day. "At first glance the building cannot be associated with anything", is how Roberto Baciocchi describes the shape of the building. "There are no right angles, no block shapes. Instead a silhouette dominates the neighbourhood which is a reminder of a polished gem and, supported by the silhouette splendour of the expanded metal, has a mysterious, yet inviting effect. Inside many intimate rooms and spaces which also beam in gold, silver, violet and azure blue await visitors, as we illuminate the expanded metal used there from the rear. Shopping thus becomes a real experience."

Internet commerce does not create a brand

And how does Roberto Baciocchi respond to the question about the significance of a flagship store in one of the most expensive places in the world in times of Internet trade? "It is more important now than ever before", is his answer. "In order to be able to communicate with the brand, customers need their own material realm - an establishment which they can visit. The virtual space is not enough to establish an identity with a brand." The selected materials convey this message in an almost physical way: "MEVACO expanded metal shines and has a transparent feel", explains Roberto Baciocchi, "it shapes the room and encloses it without being restrictive. The virtual world quickly reaches its limits, whereas the material realm of the flagship store does not." At this point the star designer smiles and adds: "Of course this only happens if one also makes proper use of the selected materials." This means that MEVACO expanded metal can show its sensual side in the middle of Tokyo and thus prove that it is not only sustainable and reliable, but also 凄い sugoi and 綺麗 kirei.