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This Thursday 5 September brings an extension to the family of official FC Barcelona stores with a new opening, this time in the heart of the Ramblas in Barcelona, the Barça Store Canaletes. The flagship store, located in the most touristy and iconic street in the whole city, is the fifth that is 100% managed by FC Barcelona, following on from those at the Camp Nou, in Passeig de Gràcia, in La Roca Village and at Barcelona Airport Terminal 2. It all forms part of the expansion plan for FC Barcelona’s retail business established through the Barça Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) company created in June 2018.
Barça Store Canaletes is at number 124, La Rambla and its 1,900 m2 are spread across three floors offering a wide range of official club products, sportswear and all kinds of gift items. But this shop is particularly special both because of its location and historical concept as well as its design concept as a venue for 100% Barça experiences, the aim being to foster innovative ways of using new technologies in the retail business.
Juli Capella of the Capella García studio of architects led the project to redesign the space, which takes its inspiration from such decorative elements as ceramics, so typical of Catalan buildings, and iconographic motifs from the local traditions of Modernisme and Noucentisme, while respecting the decorative details of the original building, together with columns and different items of wooden and marble artwork.
Welcome from the players
Visitors to Barça Store Canaletes will be received by the first team players in hologram format on a huge show window in the form of a dressing room. Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Frenkie de Jong, among others, welcome the players with a big smile and beckon them into the shop, a place that seeks to be much more than a commercial outlet and instead offers buyers an emotional, innovative and lovingly planned experience.
The ground floors is fully dedicated to menswear and first team kits, with a central space surrounded by LED screens showing images of the Camp Nou as a mosaic is put together, with the crowds making a wave or celebrating a goal. This dynamic audiovisual surround feature means that while fans are shopping, they are also transported to the stadium and made to feel part of its atmosphere and the emotions experienced there. This area is completed by an imposing replica of Canaletes Fountain, an ionic part of the Barça imagery that could not be left out of a place like this.
The first floor contains the women’s collection and the other sports kits. The old tea room of the former Hotel Montecarlo has been replaced by a room that oozes the passing of time including a mannequin wearing Leo Messi’s shirt that can be seen from the street through the immense window. There is also a fussball in which the Barça team play against an imaginary all-star team featuring such local icons as Salvador Dalí, Montserrat Caballé and Joan Gamper. A mural timeline honours the greatest highlights in Barça history and there is also an place to buy tickets for the Camp Nou or Museum.
New product personalisation ideas
The children’s section is in the basement, who will never forget their visit to the new Barça store. On this floor, they are able to enjoy games with a giant LED screen that detects movement and represents a small football pitch together with a miniature replica of a Camp Nou bench. This is also the location of the Printing Lab where fans can get their names put on the back of their shirts. Alongside this there is a new space for personalising others kinds of products, including sewing a patch onto a bag, printing one’s own signature onto a ball, putting your name on a key-ring or personalising a captain’s armband with whatever message you fancy.
The building itself was constructed in the late 19th century, and from 1945 was used as the Hotel Montecarlo. Back in the 1920s it was the offices of a newspaper called Las Noticias, which ties in with some of the earliest celebrations of Barça victories in the city. In the days before radio and television broadcasts, fans used to gather in Las Ramblas outside these offices and those of another paper called El Sol, where the scores were written on a blackboard as they came in. If Barça won, the celebrations took place there and then.
Another coincidence is that the Soler Gymnasium, where Joan Gamper founded FC Barcelona on 29 November 1899 in Carrer de Montjuïc del Carme, stood just 200 metres away from the new Barça Store Canaletes.
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