Rostov-on-Don, Russia – If a customer walked into Guapa Flower Shop and was reminded of, say, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it would indicate a job well done in Eduard Eremchuk’s book. The architect took cues from the light manipulation and astronautic aesthetic employed in Kubrick’s 1968 movie to challenge the traditional image of a flower shop.
The shop resembles an art gallery, one that would be fitting in a galactic setting should flowers come to be found on Venus
Eremchuk is part of a new wave of architect-designers who seek to challenge normalised perceptions of what retail in Russia is supposed to look like. For Guapa, the intent was to stray as far away as possible from the warmth and cosiness of most flower shops – you can see similar future-minded visions from issue 123. Instead, the shop resembles an art gallery, one that would be fitting in a galactic setting should flowers come to be found on Venus.
White walls and clean, bright lighting direct the customer’s line of vision to the limited arrangements on display. While the fixtures in the shop are linear, the entry wall curves into the space, revealing a long, silver working table and a bench to match. Built in 1928, the historical building in which Guapa is located was designed by Mikhail Kondratyev and is a remnant of the strong Constructivist movement that was budding in Soviet Russia at that time. While providing integrity to the space, the curved walls in Guapa also pay homage to the façade designed by Kondratyev.
Fluorescent lighting under the bench radiates a coral pink, providing a pop of colour. Aside from the flowers, the only other bridge from the monochromatic scheme utilised in the space can be seen in a small room leading to the bathrooms, painted a deep purple. The bold highlights attract attention to the vibrancy of the horticultural greens and surreal tones of the unique flowers. Exposed brick disrupts the smoothness of surfaces and provides textural stimulation, but stays within the design narrative, without looking like an oversight.
Guapa Flower Shop, then, is a modern rethink of 20th-century constructivism: in this case, the functionality of the space highlights what is already naturally beautiful. Designers like Eremchuk are showing that retail spaces themselves can alchemise the visual potency of products, both natural and designed.
Location 19 Suvorov Street, Rostov-on-Don, Russia