The store in Florence of the famed Italian brand, known for it’s quirky and eclectic look, is quite small but new and exciting. It opened up to fans and customers in April and invites curious shoppers with it’s capital lettered logo in gold discreetly lit between two large windows filled with products calling on you from the sidewalk. Despite its small space the store does allow for a lot of interesting elements to capture your eye, which makes it evident that visual merchandising is crucial no matter how big (or small) space your store takes up.
Marni was created in 1994 by Consuelo Castiglioni, named after Consuelo’s sister Marni. In the beginning Consuelo designed clothing adapted for fur since her husband was in the fur business, but the line quickly garnered attention and a following for it’s femininity but at the same time bold and funky style. Typical key point aesthetics for the brand is it’s mix of textures in fabrics, color blocking and a palette focuses on grey, beige and blue with bright colors as pop colors. The silhouette usually is something unexpected; asymmetric, large in volume and with experimental shapes.
Entering the shop
The front of the shop is in a big beige stone clad building, on the very chic street of Via Roma, very close to Piazza della Republica. The placement of the shop is great and it is hard to find a more central spot or better neighbors. Just next to Marni lies Miu miu and a few steps away on the facing street you find Luisa Via Roma, a shopping central for fashionistas. The street is filled with people, both photographing tourists and impeccably clad Italians alike.
When entering the shop you might notice that the two large windows and the door opening are lined with red granite stone, so even before entering the shop you understand red is vital to it’s interior design. Another very significant element is the circle – the whole store is filled with circles and they are easily viewed from the outside too with one in each window as well as in the floor and ceiling too. Some of them less defined than others but all of them rather organic. The door handle, for instance, is shaped more like an egg than a perfect circle. This makes an interesting connection with the props in the windows and display; handmade hens in papier maché and beads from Villaneuva in Colombia. According to the store staff it took them 4 days to make the hens. Each new shop opening in 2018 will have a specific animal assigned to them and here in Florence the hen is the star.
From the entrance you are welcome into a big square shaped room where the cash point is. Today the payments are more fluid and can take place anywhere in the store when the customer pays with a card, but transactions usually happen here. A friendly staffer, clad in the Marni uniform of a black chic shirt dress and funky shoes paired with even funkier socks, greets us with a smile and a Buongiorno. The little hens are again placed under a table of wallets, incased in glass looking expensive. The companionship of hens, a classic farm animal, and first class Italian leather goods luxury is a funny one and somehow typically Marni-esque.
Interior & Furniture
Let’s take a closer look at the display. While the walls and floors are beige and partly red, linked with the brand’s knack for color blocking, the furniture are a continuing of the graphic heritage. There is a cabinet for hanging jewellery where plenty of geometric shapes are presented, making it an impactful presentation that catches your eyes. Lighting is cleverly used to highlight these geographic shapes throughout the shop.
The shelves for handbags and shoes are rather rigid in a material that looks like cement but parts of the shelves are lined with pops of color that makes it simplistic but at the same time surprising for the eye. The same is with the casing for eyewear – a part of the shelf is made in one material and the rest in another, color contrasting.
Material mixes true to Marni's aesthetics
The materials used also play part with Marni’s favoring of mixing textures. We stand on a soft and plush red and pink mat when eyeing the shoes; again in the shape of a circle, mimicking the bright hole in the roof above us that also is lined with red. It somehow evokes a feeling of security and as we are incapsulated in a womb. A very stylish womb at that with it’s stone flooring and shiny surfaces. The rails with clothing is worthy of their own mentioning; they are not straight, nor round but looks like a doodly line someone drew on a paper – like a roller coaster for clothes. It’s made in a silvery steel and offsets the soft, colorful mat we just stood on but let’s the clothes speak for the textures and color pops instead.
Floor plan & layout
The small space must have been tricky for Marni to design but if we pretend to see the shop from a bird’s view and imagine a floor plan I think they have done a great job. Even though the cash point is placed at the very front of the shop you are intrigued to go further into the shop and the rooms to discover more of it’s quirkiness and to get inspired. The fitting rooms are discreet and do not take up a lot of space while the bags and shoes are the headliners when it comes to space allowance – I would guess this means these two are the main areas where Marni makes their money. Funnily enough, even though the space is small it lets the customer breathe and relax.