El Molino has been, for more than 70 years, a benchmark in pastry in Vigo. Its famous tea cake or chocolate chips need no introduction in the city.
Project Name: El Molino
Studio Name: LIQE arquitectura
Client: El Molino
Photography: Roi Alonso
Faced with the closure of its historic store on Calle Colón due to the renovation of the building, the management located a space with the potential to become the brand’s flagship, in the heart of the city’s business centre, a few meters from the previous one.
The space found at the beginning of the project was the result of a past that did not want to look back, it only understood progress, functionality and economy. Successive interventions from the middle of the last century onwards were modifying the original textile workshop that occupied a spectacular space of which only the few remains that have been attempted to be recovered remain.
During those years the original facade arches were eliminated to open large windows, the height was divided with mezzanines unthinkable today and the space was subdivided to gain use in an environment in which the rental price unfortunately exceeded the value of history . Likewise, an undue vision of luxury and progress led previous occupants to hide the original stone structure, steeped in history, under granite cladding out of context and scale.
The project proposes the recovery of the essence of the space of the original textile workshop. The imposing scale of the stone arches, born from the functional needs of an industrial past, define a space that is developed with a vocation for sobriety.
Eliminating mezzanines and inappropriate coatings, a completely neutral interior is proposed, to allow the extraordinary products of El Molino to be the absolute protagonists. In a respectful way, it was decided to expose all the scars of the past in the stone, even the large metal beams that allowed opening the hole in the façade are marked covered only for conservation reasons.
It is designed with sobriety and a markedly functional sense, covering the walls with discreet white grooved acoustic paneling in different densities.
For the ceiling, an acoustic solution is chosen that enhances the presence of the arches, achieves the scale adaptation of the monumental exterior of the business centre to an environment of pause and serenity, and recalls one of the brand’s flagship products: the chocolate chips. For this, a warped surface is generated by means of sound-absorbing fiberglass fabrics.
It is discreetly played inside with repetition, rhythm, cadence; with subtle contrasts introduced through alterations that respond to the function of the spaces: change of cladding system, differences in the heights of the finishes, variations in distances. In this way, the image of professionalism, seriousness and trajectory of such an important brand in the city is enhanced, also alluding to its artisanal vision of pastry.
Sand-colored pavements are used as a unifying element, preserving the tone of the original stone but varying its texture. The oak appears as the counterpoint to the uniformity of the white grooves. Natural wood, with its texture steeped in history, maintains the balance of craftsmanship in the premises.
The boundary between the pastry shop and the cafeteria is blurred to promote life and movement inside the premises, also allowing the project to adapt in the future to different functional needs: increase the product display areas according to seasons or allow the realization of events that occupy the entire space.