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A jewel-sandel shop in Capri, Italy

Designed by RPM Proget, an architecture and design studio based in Rome

Via Camerelle 81, in the heart of Capri, hosts a very special shop. Actually, it is something more and different from a 'traditional' shop. It is rather a laboratory-shop, an open-air workshop, certainly a place of great creativity, a forge of craftsmanship and ancient knowledge, where a precious and exclusive product is born.

It is called 'Emanuela Caruso Capri'. Other 'Emanuela Caruso' stores are located in Dubai and Forte dei Marmi. The Capri shop - which opened last May 28 - was designed by RPM Proget, an architecture and design studio based in Rome, which has been able to fully understand and interpret its particularities and translate them into an authentic and measured project, ideal for making the product stand out at its best.

Architect Roberto Antobenedetto of RPM Proget explains how this work for the retail sector was born and developed: "Emanuela Caruso is the owner of the Capri shop where jewel-sandals are made. This product - consistent with the Capri style - has become synonymous with sandals of great prestige and quality, linked to a concept of luxury for use that recalls holidays and the sea. RPM Proget's challenge was that of designing a very special retail venue."

Emanuela Caruso explains the concept that inspires her business: “I have developed the classic Capri sandal in a more modern way, which is aimed at an ageless clientele. The new location of via Camerelle is strategic, as the shop is located near the reference fashion brands and in the area of the renowned hotels. With its simple-style approach, this shop manages to convey the importance of the product. Although very simple, the choice of wood, cotton, coral and sand in the setting gives a sense of beauty".

"We are not talking of a traditional shop" - comments the architect - "it is rather a laboratory-shop of 60 square meters including a service area. The product has its own intrinsic value determined by the craftsmanship and the fact that it is tailor-made. The location has two workstations and sandals are made by a craftsman under the customer’s eyes and in a short time. Customers can choose the sole, the heel and the decorative elements to have something unique and personal. As sandals are very special, really looking like jewels, they do not require a ‘traditional’ setting. Thus, they are not placed on shelves but on the sand, that is, the shelves contain the sand that is enriched with white marine corals. Positioned on the natural sand colour, the sandals stand out to the maximum, because they are already embellished with pearls, glasses and coloured gems. Outside the venue, two huge bougainvillea catch the eye of those who pass by with their exuberant patch of colour ".

If the right encounter and a good degree of understanding between the client and the architect is always important for the success of a project, in this case it was a fundamental issue.

Emanuela Caruso says: “For us it was important to be present on one of the most famous and popular islands in the world and do it with an emerging and particular brand. The architect immediately understood that I wanted a simple but attractive shop, where people were not afraid to cross the threshold and that would remain - as in the first shop I opened on the island ten years ago - a place where people felt free to enter. For this reason, we put sofas and we have created a living room atmosphere. There is a lot of green, there are two large banana trees inside and two outside and there is plenty of white, which is a fundamental colour here."

"Wood is treated with cementine and painted white" - explains the architect. "The wooden element in the back wall acts as a focal point for those who pass the promenade which is the most popular in Capri. It is a very special wooden wall entirely made of bamboo canes. The winning element was to bring the shop outside under the arcade, where there is a beautiful bench with very colourful cushions and the craftsman works next to it. People are intrigued. They stop and stand there to watch how a sandal-jewel is born. This is part of the game and it is a dazzling moment. We have created a dynamic space focusing on the craftsman-artist’s work. This generates curiosity. Something going beyond the brand, something that is born there and is pretty alive."

The RPM Proget studio was founded in 2003 and shows in the company name the initials of the names of the three partners: the architect Roberto Antobenedetto, the interior designer Patrizia Pozzi and the architect Michelangelo Pepé, three professionals in full harmony and complementary to each other. With a particular focus on the restyling and interior design of the restaurant and food industry, RPM Proget expands its range of activities designing spaces for hotel, entering in the world of hospitality, always with creativity and dynamism combined with a particular attention to lighting, acoustics and sustainability, at national and international level.