Gaia Store, Cervia – connecting the present with the past since 2016

A new community of young people linked by the passion for fashion, interior design, and perfumes has found its temple in the philosophy of Gaia Store

The origins of Gaia Store

The history of Gaia Store starts in two thousand sixteen when Ms. Gorini –  economics graduate who worked as a banker – and her boyfriend, Mr. Montanaro – a designer at an optics store – decided to blend their passion and create a new kind of concept store.

The store is named Gaia Store in honor of Ms. Gorini. Its first location is in Cervia, a town in Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. During the summertime the city sees a flow of visitors, as it is located in the touristic spot of Riviera Romagnola.

Gaia Store is a container with objects, apparel, and magazines that adhere to the poetics of Ms. Gorini and Mr. Montanaro. It didn’t have a market share of its own, but had to construct one. The outcome is a concept store that generates a continued dialogue with the region.

According to Mr. Montanaro and Ms. Gorini’s perspective, the online world is more aseptic than the physical environment, which they aim to infuse with poetry. This is the reason why they perceive their Instagram page and online website not as their primary selling channel, but more like an invitation card to attract people in the store. 

Eventually, they opened their second store in Cesena in two thousand nineteen. Even though this store is smaller compared to the first one, it still maintains the variousness of the original one and features a specific interior design that makes it unique.

The tailored-made interior design for Gaia 

Gaia Store shows a curated interior design. The store assortment changes up to once a month. This freedom of action originates from the furniture. To realize it, they use a new material: Polylactic acid. Also known as PLA, it is obtained by condensation of lactic acid with loss of water. Among other things, this material is economical and made from renewable sources. 

The materials are then printed using a 3D machine, creating the modules the store is built with today. The idea of modules enables the owners to shuffle them to create new accommodations according to the store’s needs.

When assembled, the modules reveal curved lines that resemble the waves of the sea. But this motif has also a more profound meaning: Gaia Store aims to be a fluid space where various aesthetics and objects come in touch.

Mr. Montanaro stated: «For us, eyes have the last word. We want our shop to always match our ideas from an aesthetic point of view».

This philosophy also resonates with the color and the logo of the store. The predominant tones are a nuance that goes from white/cement grey to pink, transmitting «a clean feeling». The logo is Ms. Gorini’s name, but with a deeper meaning. Placing letters on a square allows clients to read the logo both ways, from front to back and vice versa. This is also connected with Gaia’s philosophy of «thinking about the present without forgetting the past».

Gaia Store’s Made in Italy philosophy

Mr. Montanaro and Ms. Gorini’s philosophy is also reflected in the choice of objects within the store. 

The two owners aimed at breaking the fashion market’s rules. And in doing so, they are trying to bring within Gaia Store a selection of items  that do not cease in a season. Being able to do that also suggests finding brands that share the same values.

Accordingly, Gaia’s brands pay particular attention at Made in Italy, and are produced in limited collections. They tend to favor materials, intellectuals, and warehouse choices free from mass consumption to avoid waste. These decisions allow Gaia Store’s clients to experience the real essence of shopping.

Ms. Gorini and Mr. Montanaro are those in charge of the brands’ selection process. At the beginning, they were responsible for researching and creating new contacts. Eventually, companies have started to approach them directly, providing look books or samples. Once the marketing and research phase has been defined, products are selected according to their storytelling and coherence with Gaia’s setting.

Inside the concept store: merging perfumes with clothes and design

Over the years, Mr. Montanaro’s fondness for design and Ms. Gorini’s love for clothes and perfumes merged into Gaia. 

Since the store opened its door, it has tried not only to sell the products, but also to accompany customers through a multisensory experience, where perfumes merge with clothes, creating the ‘blended shopping’.

Concerning fragrances, a new resource was added to Gaia’s team – a recent graduate from a perfume school in Parma. Thanks to this new addition, owners can now make a thoughtful choice from a broad range of scents samples outside the traditional market. 

This research is shared by the different products within Gaia Store. And this is where the importance of digital comes into play. In fact, since most of the brands on sale are limited editions or exclusively sold at Gaia, younger generations have had the chance to discover and purchase them online.

The aim: from a store to a source of trends

Gaia Store aims at becoming not just a place where people go shopping, but an inspirational environment as well. Hence the addition of magazines. 

Magazines are realized to inspire people, so that they can find new aesthetics and remain up to date with recent trends and emerging artists.

Ms. Gorini and Mr. Montanaro took inspiration from a Paris concept store the couple used to visit before creating their own: Colette. They were astonished by seeing all different types of objects blend. Being one of the first concept stores in Paris, Colette closed in two thousand seventeen, and nowadays Gaia is aspiring to bring its philosophy forward.

Gaia Store’s community and it connection to the Riviera territory

Today Gaia Store can rely on a team of five employees and some additional external collaborators participating in specific projects. 

Every season, Ms. Gorini and Mr. Montanaro develop a mood board defining the aesthetic and principles for the next ‘season’ of the concept store. Here new collaborators come into play. By periodically involving new people, Gaia Store keeps promoting and giving visibility to new artists.

Concerning its audience, Gaia Store has been seeking clients from the local territory, as well as akin to Gaia’s philosophy.

Certainly the location helped, as the Riviera Romagnola can benefit from the summer wave of tourists. Also, since the pandemic, more and more people are taking advantage of remote work to move to the Riviera, enlarging Gaia Store’s community.

Gaia Store

Born in 2016 in Cervia and Cesena in Riviera Romagnola, Gaia Store was founded by Alex Montanaro and his girlfriend, Gaia Gorini. Together they found Gaia, a concept store resembling their idea of an aesthetic and inspirational place. Gaia presents limited-edition collections and Italian products, from clothes to design objects, perfumes, and magazines.

Fabiana Boglione

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.