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VM choice: Kikekeller exhibition space and store

A temporary exhibition space is, in truth, what any retail space is but here the contrast between the original store and the contemporary, almost steam-punk, range of furniture currently in the space accentuates the transient nature of the merchandise.

Kikekeller is not the first brand to do this. Comme Des Garcon’s Rei Kawakubo has long developed a series of guerilla stores, which sold both a limited range developed especially for the space and off-season merchandise, echoing a similar idea. Merely moving in and making minimal changes underlines the transience of both the merchandise and the space. Today Kikekeller is a furniture store. Tomorrow: who knows?

This space is not unique to Madrid either. With its original, diamond-tiled terracotta floor and part-exposed brick wall, this old-fashioned store could easily be in any 19th century retail street, be it in Macau, Shanghai’s French Concession, or rural France.

Located in Corredera Baja de San Pablo in Madrid’s Malasana district, an up-and-coming area known for artists and fashion, the hanging sign suggests the repurposed nature of the store. The word exposicion, or exhibition, on the glass announces the store’s purpose in all senses of the word’s meaning.

The current furniture and home accessories collection, created by owners Kike Keller and Celia Montoya, is the result of time spent creating film props and hotel events. An element of ‘try before you buy’ is possible as surprisingly, the store is also a bar. The café tables and chairs are also for sale.

The retail space is generous. With a skimmed concrete floor, white-painted walls, a simple track lighting system, and pillars clad with unpainted-plywood, the interior resembles many minimally fitted-out boutique spaces the world over. Yet the paneled walls give it a sense of delicacy, avoiding the industrial space cliché, and heightening the contrast with the rugged, tank-like metal fixtures seen here in the foreground.

The espresso coffee machine and the bar tucked in to a recess, and the wooden tables in the background, allow this dual-purpose offer, suggesting the owners are keen to make the most of their retail space. And why not? Rents everywhere today are more than many fledgling retailers would wish to pay: making the space work is sound economic thinking.

Photography: Darren Neave