Alfonso Rengifo, founder of the ARC-itects
The ARC-itects studio creates responsible, collaborative architecture. Founded in 2016 by Alfonso Rengifo, it has carried out more than 20 new construction and renovation projects. Its objective in all of them is to involve the user in all stages of the process, inviting them to appropriate the design and choose solutions that are responsible for their function and the environment. With this philosophy, he has designed the interior of the Madreamiga by La Minguiña store and workshop.
Madreamiga, housed in the former location of the La Miguiña workshop in the Tetuán neighborhood of Madrid now has a completely new image. Begoña San Pedro, Miga de Oro 2018 is still at the helm, working with organic stone ground flour and long fermentations.
1.- Is interior design a key element of bakeries? Can it be used to bring in new customers?
Undoubtedly, interior design is a fundamental element for any business, since it directly influences your customers’ shopping experience. In the case of Madreamiga, we wanted the interior design to transmit the values of the brand: warmth, closeness, innovation, honesty, professionalism ... If our customers recognise the values, they are more than likely to come back!
2.- What are the secrets to making the design of a premises work?
One of the keys, for ARC-itects, is to immerse ourselves in the world of the activities to be housed in the venue. Analyse how the trade works, at what times, how many people, what is needed ... and based on your findings, start to understand their needs and then add (or qualify) the users’ wishes. In the case of Madreamiga, learning about the needs of each stage of the bread-making process and the other products they make was fascinating. Based on these observations, designers can create a suitable space and even improve it.
3.- What are the current trends in baker's shop design? Luxury? Practicality? Modern, rustic or urban premises?
Current trends in these types of businesses are focusing in on the product, showing how it is produced and using natural, welcoming, warm materials to signify an industry that is becoming increasingly healthy and responsible.
The truth is that there are solutions for all tastes. ARC-itects always chooses functionality and as for the "style", I would not know how to define it. It depends on what is best for each project. Personally, I like everything to have a purpose.
Success story: Madreamiga by La Miguiña
The interior design of this project is the result of a close collaboration between the ARC-itects studio, the entire team at Madreamiga by La Miguiña (Begoña San Pedro who is the founding baker, the investment partners, the bakers, the shop assistants, the cleaning staff…), the artists Flora Von Oppenheim and Paloma Folache who painted the display table, the construction company Salto y Holgueras with all their trades and industrial machinery experts Frinus. Looking back, we have no doubt that the interior design of this establishment was conceived to meet the wishes and needs of the people who work at Madreamiga by La Miguiña, adding the architectural vision of ARC-itects.
Project finished in five months
We started designing the project with Madreamiga in early October 2020 during an initial stage that lasted for about a month. We started the work at the beginning of November aiming to have the workshop ready by mid-December 2020, for the Christmas campaign. We succeeded and it was undoubtedly a success for everyone involved in the project. The work was completely finished, with the shop and furniture installed, at the end of February 2021. Completing this project in five months was possible thanks to everyone's hard work, particularly the construction company Salto y Holgueras.
ARC-itects managed the complete design of the first space, both shop and workshop for Madreamiga by La Miguiña. We designed everything from the layout of the machinery and the workflow in the workshop to each piece of furniture in the shop. When they contacted us, they already had their brand identity. It was our job to interpret it and embody it in all the details of a 250 m2 premises.
Inspiration from beyond similar spaces
To start the project, we looked closely at foreign businesses that the Madreamiga team liked, such as the Supermoon Bakehouse bakery in New York (USA) and the Mast Brothers chocolate shop in the Shoreditch neighbourhood of London (UK) and also local establishments like Misión Café and Proper Sound in Madrid and Turris in Barcelona. But our inspiration for the project came from far beyond similar spaces: We were even inspired by 17th century Castilian banquettes!
Some of the details have been very successful. One of them is the contrast between the warm atmosphere of the shop (light, colours, textures) and the almost surgically white workspace of the workshop visible through the windows. We wanted to highlight the difference between these two worlds: the world of meticulous work and that of pleasure.
Another milestone in the project is the shop display-table that we designed for artists Flora Von Oppenheim and Paloma Folache to paint. The piece certainly attracts the customers’ attention, both in person and on social networks!
Another less spectacular feature of which we are proud is that we have used many elements from the previous premises that would normally have been discarded. These include some glass from the old shop that we have relocated and is now a partition in the order entry area; the floors of the old premises that no longer fit with the new partitions that we were pleased to leave as is; and the mirror in the staff lavatory facilities, which we discovered under layers of plaster from several previous works and has been recovered to be used again.