Yes, they still exist – those small, exclusive, owner-run shoe shops and boutiques which are aware of their strengths and which have the confidence to invest in their future. We discovered one such establishment in the famous arcades of the elegant health resort of Merano in South Tyrol (Alto Adige). Its name is Caligula, and it was completely refitted during the spring of 2012 by Umdasch Shopfitting (Consultants/Planners: Geom. Adalbert Hillebrand, Arch. Elena Catto).
The name Caligula derives from the sandals of ancientRome, and shoemaking is a tradition that runs in the family. 130 years ago, the great-grandfather of Dietmar Pircher ran a shoemaker’s workshop here. The family-run business (operated today by Dietmar Pircher with his wife, son and daughter) has occupied its present address, a prime location, for the past 22 years. Their motto is “shoes are our passion”.
The attractiveness of Caligula shoes is impressively documented in a newspaper article in the Dolomiten dated 17.2.2010: “Last night, unknown thieves broke into Caligula, the shoe shop in the arcades in Merano, via the back door and stole over 300 pairs of shoes. The damage is estimated at several 10,000s of euros…”
A right to first-class advice
The desirability is even greater since the renovations, although corresponding improvements have also been make to the safety technology. Caligula is indeed no small establishment, occupying 400 m² on two floors. The generous, even extravagant use of space reflects the high quality of the product range and the customer’s right to expect first-class advice. The brands on offer include Philipp Plein, Alden, Donna Carolina, Pons Quintana, Galzizio Torresi, Gravati, Logan, Moreschi, Onitsuka Tiger, Renato Angi, Santoni, Gianvito Rossi and Camper. The light, friendly design underlines the salon-like character of the sales area. This is enhanced by a light tiled wood-look floor, the plaster ceiling with built-in spots and white painted surfaces with contrasting areas of dark oak.
Set at an appropriate distance from each other, the shoes are presented singly or in pairs on “floating” glass shelves. Particularly exquisite models are displayed like items of jewellery in glass cases, as are the appropriate accessories. Further interesting details include the broad spiral staircase, full-length mirrors positioned at an angle, generous seating units and cleverly arranged tables and platforms. Against the wall, the Umdasch system Arena Alu skilfully plays a supporting role for the glass shelving. The harmonious overall presentation is accurately shown in the best possible light by the lighting (RZB).