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WOW’s first physical market space

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05/18/2022 – Carmelo Zabula and his team External reference Introduced the first physical space designed for Wonderfulan innovative phygital market, a new bet by the former president of the Spanish giant El Corte Inglés, businessman Dimas Gimeno.

WOW is a project of articulation, with a digital marketplace, through interactive systems that complement the online shopping experience, feeding the physical space, whose first amazing store was opened to the public at the beginning of March in Madrid.

External Reference has spent years developing the idea for WOW with its investors, researching, experimenting and innovating in the retail sector: “Today’s malls are in crisis, physical stores are competing with the online world and it is important that they become more attractive to continue to be a part of the leisure life of cities.. – Carmelo Zabula confirms – With this in mind, we designed a commercial space that serves as a large theater where elements are constantly changing, so that people who visit WOW always find something different.”

Zappola and his team designed the six floors of commerce, as well as two floors of gastronomic space, as a setting for an ongoing contemporary show, in which the product is revealed through a sensory experience that on each floor changes and changes over time.

Within WOW, each space is unique, different and provocative, generating unforgettable user experiences.
In different buying scenarios, there will also be a constant renewal of products and brands, and in many cases digital original, which will not be sold in other physical stores and will have an exclusive space in WOW. The top brands will have their corners, many of which have been designed by an outside reference as in the case of TAG Heuer, FOREO or Grover.

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During the journey inside the WOW, the user begins their experience on the ground floor dedicated to cosmetics, with direct access from Gran Vía and Clavel. In this plan, the external reference imagined that figures from the classical world had crossed time and space, colonizing the building that once housed the Hotel Roma. These figures, transformed into pink sculptures, are subject to spatio-temporal distortions that are manifested in pixels, and are used as bases for product presentation.
In the basement, the latest innovations from the world of technology are displayed in a space entirely inspired by the evolution of human nature towards synthetic and digital. The 3D-printed landscape of sea coral with pure technology materials (a natural mineral compound that neutralizes greenhouse gases by capturing and converting carbon dioxide into inert metals) is the environment where digital and physical dimensions integrate to generate an unprecedented shopping experience.

From the first floor to the third floor, the space is respectively dedicated to local digital fashion brands, established brands and street fashion brands. All are aesthetically and conceptually independent: while the first floor will completely transform its appearance, as if it were a dress, completely renewing its beauty each season, the second floor, with its image inspired by a fashion show, will be the venue for the changing events while the third floor, fashionable, inspired by the aesthetics Street and sports, immerses the user in a more technical and urban space.

The top floor of the shopping center is dedicated to home furnishings and accessories. Featuring avatar-like characters and a Metaverse-inspired aesthetic, it makes the game mode theatrical as outdoor and indoor spaces merge and reality becomes a divided fantasy.

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The entire WOW project was developed within a listed building, the former Hotel Roma, the first building built on Gran Via dating back to 1915.
Therefore, the design of the interior space generates a dialogue between a very contemporary layer and its historical context. All WOW interior structures and components are designed as ephemera, removable leather and furniture designed as free-standing art installations. The result, in addition to respecting the historical heritage, manages to generate a dialogical, artistic and sometimes satirical reading.

The last two floors of eight of the WOW project will host the gastronomic space, also designed by External Reference. The design will focus on an open and constantly evolving tasting concept, designed to accommodate the many Michelin-starred chefs who will be making temporary proposals.

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