The reform and expansion of the Raima began in the year 2016 and ended two years later, in 2018. It was a time of effort, teamwork and shovel and shovel. Two years full of anecdotes and moments of conciliation, contingencies and daily motivation, all this, however, resulted in a pleasant reward. Now today, although the new store is already a reality and has been able to move from 2 to 6 floors, there is a captivating story behind it that will always remain and it is the one that explains the motivations and why of a project that is both ambitious and risky and both revolutionary and authentic.
And it is that like the great projects worthy of admiration, this reform was born thanks to a single idea. A single dream that in principle we can categorize as a bit cheeky and a bit daring. And is that the goal of make Raima the largest stationery store in all of Europe it’s not anything. It is an insidious proposal, yes, which could only arise from its owners; Núria and Jaume, two examples of unconditional dedication and passion for stationery.
Starting from this ideal, he began with the search for suitable professionals, able to face a project of this magnitude and to bravely achieve one of the most important milestones in the history of Raima. This is how he opted for a studio of architects like his George Vidal; professionals who focus on giving spaces their own narrative, who understand the importance of preserving the cultural tradition of buildings and offering modern, dynamic and enveloping structures.
Once you had a goal as a starting point and a group of professionals willing to carry out the task, the first challenge that arose was to achieve a synergy between history and innovation. Between the past, the present and the future. Between a structure that had already undergone certain reforms and therefore had to be listened to and be careful with the building and the need to build a new concept of stationery; open and dynamic. The most effective solution was to build a block system. A kind of container ampli, capable of allowing dialogue between people and objects, flexible when offering various options for rearranging items and adaptable, in order to be able to play with the spaces and their configurations.
Seen another way, the architects would be in charge of the forms and the Raima team of the content, of what would be inside. Of the products and their distribution and in short, to give life and personality to the store.
On the other hand, the challenge of creating a natural conversation between the environments and the distribution was solved thanks to a material as precious and valuable as the natural light. In this element was found the way to open the spaces and give continuity to the whole structure. Before the renovation, the point through which light entered was only the roof of the first floor. In order to achieve the effect of verticality and breadth so characteristic of the store, this access was opened giving a much deeper and continuous route, which goes down from the fourth floor to the main floor. Along with the celobert, it was chosen for elements capable of capturing large amounts of light as is the example of the cobblestone facade, just where the escalators end, to give continuity and route to the back of the store. Also, it was played with architectural elements such as the Catalan vault, which opens up the spaces and provides a panoramic view of the whole environment. Finally, with all this set of reforms what he achieved is one transition, a suggestive walk that comes from the street to the interior space of the store. A tour »interesting, suggestive and sensual»Inside a unique listed building from 1513.
However, natural light is a resource that would eventually run out. So in order to continue giving life to the store during the evening and night, it was decided to distribute a series of continuous lanes in the longitudinal direction. Like a type of network with small adaptable elements that illuminate corners of the store where the shop windows are located. In this way what is achieved by equipping the store with lighting throughout the day and builds a environment where you will have the feeling that the hours stop. Visitors will be able to live a comfortable experience between the different floors without having to worry about the succession of time.
Finally, the reform was completed the choice of materials and last details. With the intention of keeping alive the roots and identity of the building, a careful selection of specific materials was made, which, obeying the constructivist logic of the historic center, would be responsible for establishing a contemporary narrative in the middle of a old structure. Good example of this are the forging elements and metal railings (located on the exterior façade), which make specific reference to the classic and original Gothic structures and expressly point to the conservation and tradition of both the building and the neighborhood where it is located.
Today Raima rests on five fairly solid and resilient foundations. And it is that the largest stationery store on an entire continent was rebuilt on five fundamental axes: Respect so it is done, by the people and the environment. For pre-existences and continuities. And beyond reaching the milestone set by Núria and Jaume, it is a source of pride for all of us to see that today Barcelona, our city, has a space with its own identity, with roots of very concrete tradition and culture and at the same time, with an optimistic vision of future and passion by the excellence. Today we can say that in the Gothic Quarter we have a unique stationery, with an incalculable range of products and paper and an experience of comfort and quality that is simply unique and special.
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