spanish studio TAKK architects presents an investigation on materiality and ornamentation with the multi-purpose retail space entitled ‘grotto.’ the project is driven by a perception of values within the architectural field where structure, form, and function are favored while issues of finishing and ornament are deprioritized. with this premise TAKK architects focuses on experimental material practices that exhibit a clear geological influence. these experimentations ultimately resulted in the creation of ‘grotto,’ a term which refers to a cave or concealed subterranean passage. the grotto has historically been architecturalized as a hybridization of built space and landscape wherein natural, or seemingly natural elements are favored over distinctly artificial elements.

takk architects grotto
all images by josé hevia



while the space is intended primarily for the sale of swiss watches, ‘grotto’ serves as a place for gathering, lectures, workshops and debates. TAKK architects curates the cavernous interior with a contrastingly soft, light, botanical expression. the project is organized in six domes that are organized around a central pillar. light filters through a patterned screen set into the dome, casting floral shadows and delicate highlights across the interior. the vertical dome walls organically deform to become integrated seating and display surfaces. the largest dome serves as the main retail space. a curtain specially crafted through a catenary system of chains and foam pieces wraps this space and achieves a unique experience of watching and selling in the complex. 

takk architects grotto



TAKK architects elaborates on the spirit of ‘grotto’:when we decide to use a certain material, or a color, for instance the soft materialities, or the use of ornamental geometries, we are not only offering some certain physical properties to the user, but we are also setting a discussion with the history of architecture or with our society’s symbolic imaginary given to a certain color or material.’

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project info:


architects: TAKK architects

name: grotto

location: madrid, spain

client: swatch

year: 2018

status: completed

program: retail

photography: josé hevia