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Primark, Madrid

Spain is renowned for its extreme summer temperatures, flamboyant artists and architects, warm Mediterranean Sea, magnificent mountain ranges and quaint villages. Yet it also has an equally diverse and vibrant fashion market.

Right in the heart of its capital, our very own fashion giant, Primark, has launched probably its most incredible store to date. Sited within a magnificent turn of the century building on one of Madrid’s finest boulevards, Gran Via, the 133,000 sq ft store breathes new life into this historic building. It is a masterpiece of retail theatre and another string in the bow of its designers, Dalziel and Pow.

The new show stopping store fuses old and new perfectly, whilst blending mass market clothing and accessories with upmarket flair. From the outset, due to strict planning regulations of the Madrid Patrimony, the grand architectural façade had to remain untouched. However, the formidable chain was not fazed. It claimed ownership of the beautiful building by placing enormous, turquoise, neon letters within the windows stretching across the store front.

Step inside and you will be amazed by what you see. The atrium alone with its palatial staircase will astound. Another stipulation of the Madrid Patrimony was that the grand staircase be reinstated - no doubt at a huge cost and also the loss of a substantial area of sales floor. Once again, never thwarted by historic detail the designers used the gargantuan octagonal atrium to the best effect, fusing the height of modern technology to its very core. Eleven massive, transparent screens decorate and disorientate the atrium and its surrounding floors, immersing you fully within the brand. From a fantasy forest to a fashion show, Primark customers are presented with an unexpected stream of transitional content, which interacts dynamically with the surrounding architecture. Light from the atrium roof floods the entire store adding to the ethereal quality.

Look around and you will see an altogether new level of display. It is not so much about the product and how it is merchandised, but all about the experience. This store transcends its level entirely, it is incredible. Fixtures and fittings are equally diverse and add to the eclectic mix. The ground floor is kept uncluttered. Racking and shelving resides on the perimeter walls, set below the floors above and leaving the atrium clear for a major display feature, which conveys the octagonal theme through mannequins and display pods. This sets the scene.


Throughout the store utilitarian type shopfittings and display have been vamped up. Cash desks are adorned with coloured balls that defy gravity, stuck like glue to the ceiling above them. Multiple mannequins strike a pose on a giant, crate like blue and white wall and graffiti covers a vast, fake brick wall. Wayfinding signage is swathed in bold colours and artwork abounds. The designers commissioned a series of diverse local artists to create illustrations, sculpture, large-scale typographic treatments and installations to the architecture of the building. From street art to origami, the work is inspired by the breadth and creativity of Madrid. Another first for Primark is the incorporation of a seating area on each level with USBs where shoppers can relax and recharge their phones.

This new flagship, which is on a department store scale, was originally the home of the first Parisian styled Madrid department store. Although not the largest in its empire, it does have 5 floors, 131 cash desks, 15 escalators, 91 fitting rooms and 300 mannequins on display - a VM’s dream!
We have to take our hats off to Primark for this incredibly creative and decidedly cool store.

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