_Món Petit, “doing with the minimum, the maximum”_
When I think of second hand shops, I think of bland spaces selling used items primarily for charity. The design and lighting quality of these spaces tend to be of little or no concern. Mostly there is no budget for such ‘frivolity’. An exception to this can be found in the small state of Andorra in the form of Món Petit. Món Petit is a second-hand children’s shop by Miquel Merce Arquitecte and MSB Workshop, which creates an exciting retail and community experience in this usually bland typology of retail interior. With green credentials and great economy of language and materials the architects have achieved a poetic space for showcasing second hand toys and children’s items.The architects describe it as: “A store that is more than a store. A singular shop, not only for its premiere(sic) in Andorra as a sustainable space for the sale of semi- new items for children but also for its architecture, expressive and sincere.” The space is also used as a meeting place and to host workshops.
Responding to a period of crisis in ecology and sustainability, the architects reacted by designing a simple, functional, economical (€30.000 for 60 sq/m), and beautifully considered elegant space, using recycled materials. “Retrieve, save, consider” are verbs that they had in mind, which go hand in hand with the concept of selling used items.
There was also a need for great flexibility in display possibilities as it is the customer who brings in the items for sale, hence deciding what is on display. The mostly brightly coloured children’s items, with their variety of shapes and motifs are controlled by a single sculptural element: the recycled black steel plate used in a rhythmic pattern, with no adornments and no gimmicks.
“Thanks to its constructive and material sincerity, it enhances the value of the products exhibited. With its repetition, it gives rhythm and vibration to the space. Opaque and heavy laterally, invisible and clear from side, the steel elements metamorphose dramatically forcing the viewer to move, to change perspective, interacting with it. It is a geometric reality: to see all the products the customer is forced to enter and go to the back of the store, participating and living this this sculptural architecture … In short, we wanted to create a sculptural space, useful and critic of the times we live in, doing with the minimum, the maximum, giving, giving a new sustainable dimension to the ‘less is more’ of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.” Miquel Merce Arquitecte