Espacio 706 | Interview with Aurora de la Fuente Manjón
MiND talked to Aurora de la Fuente Manjón about her new brand “Espacio 706” – a creative agency focused on store development, visual merchandising, and window dressing – where she applies her studies in interior architecture, fashion design and her experiences at Gucci, Bimba y Lola and Adolfo Domínguez.
Can you walk us through your background?
I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. My older sister studied interior architecture and I liked creating spaces and developing projects. It intrigued me so much that I changed my mind and started studying interior architecture with the intention, once finished, to start fashion design. At the end, I loved the interior world so much that I decided to pursue an interior design career focused on fashion. I chose to go to Milan for a Masters in Interior Design for Luxury Living at the Marangoni Institute. I lived and worked in Milan for four years. I started working for an event production company that worked for Moschino, Adidas, etc. and it was there that I got in touch with some well-known fashion brands.
After some collaborations with architectural firms as a freelancer, I was selected by Gucci to be part of the image team as a window dresser. I worked as a visual merchandiser responsible for the creativity of all the shop windows around the world in temporary spaces and pop-ups.
Then I started a collaboration with Bimba y Lola in Spain. It was a very ambitious project because at the time they were entering into different markets. They assigned me to the showcase department, which didn’t exist before, and I started to design the windows of all the shops. I developed the new store concept and all the display elements like the busts for the jewelry display, the mannequins, the hangers; everything from the material to the product display.
Then I worked in the international events area where we developed fashion shows, from pop-ups to parties and press dinners, taking care of the organization and of all the smallest details of creativity. We bet a lot on the new Mexican market. The brand had just been launched there, and it was very cool because no one knew us and we started appearing in print and all kinds of magazines, and at the same time we started to reach our goal of increasing sales.
In 2017 I was called by Adolfo Domínguez as director of VM and Architecture to develop the new store concept for the brand.
All the work that I have developed in the different fields within the fashion industry is very important because it represents the first contact that the consumer has before getting in touch with a brand or a collection, as long as it is not online. The first impression that occurs in front of the facade or window is crucial. It’s what makes you go in and then, once you’re inside, things happen. First, the store must make you feel good. It has to create emotions, sensations, and generate a nice and pleasant experience so that you have the need to continue living in that place, while the product is in the background (but not less important).
The whole experience is adding value to a product, it is offering and selling it to you, so that the consumer goes away completely satisfied and wants to come back.
Bluebal Multibrand Store.
When and why did you decide to open ESPACIO 706?
Espacio 706 was born in 2018 because I always wanted to have my own studio. It was a project I had with my sister. It was our dream and we made it come true with Espacio 706.
I define it as a “creative territory“. It is about interior design, window dressing, visual merchandising, communication, and advertising projects. I collaborate with different creative partners such as photographers, artists, graphic designers, interior designers and freelance workers. For example, if I need to launch an important campaign, I have people I can count on. It is important to have workshops behind you which can produce more than 10,000 units per time.
The studio is located in an emblematic building in the center of the city of Burgos. From here we operate in different parts of Spain and Italy. We got the office in space 706 so we chose the name “Espacio 706” honoring the first place, the starting point.
"Espacio 706 is a space in which dreams and illusions take shape to be commercialized, tangible and experienced."
What is your process for creating a store concept?
The first thing is to study and get to know the firm or the client very well: its history and philosophy, the collections, and their target. It is important to know the product and make an analysis of competencies and behaviors. Once this is defined, I think about what the space is. I search for and select materials, objects, colors that evoke the brand’s character, and give personality to the store. This would be the main mood board.
In order to define the product’s behavior, I design the space architecturally with the necessary furniture and details. Also, the lighting is very important and the final parts such as mannequins, busts, hangers. Then I am going to define the application of the brand within the spaces.
Nike Shop in shop in Milan.
What identifies your style?
I like things that are infinite and timeless. I don’t like trends. I like things that last over time, things you never get tired of… I think that’s where good design is.
I like to take care of the container, preserve and remind in some way what that space once was.
I play with masses of materials and color mixtures that are misleading -if intended- but very subtle. I do not like to complicate combinations.
I like the "deliberate imperfection" that can be attributed to the carefree character or even to the most important note of the space.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From anywhere. Above all I get inspiration from traveling and from seeing how other companies, other creatives, other interior designers work. This keeps me up to date. Then I take inspiration from magazines, cinema, art. When I work on something, my head doesn’t rest, it is aware of any external stimulus that evokes something in me, that leads me to a solution or even an idea. In the end it is a set of knowledge, of guidelines and research that help you develop the project. You look at one material but searching for information about this material you can find another that leads you to the end.
What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your work as an interior architect?
Providing the client with a unique and exclusive treatment. I want him/her to feel comfortable in the process and be excited to see the result. And above all, productivity. Everything has to work together perfectly and -at the end- you must see actual achievements and numbers. Our work must ensure that the same product, in the same space and with the same customer, generates multiple sales. This is where you demonstrate that the design has worked.