(Spain) Galeria Canalejas becomes the shopping centre for luxury boutiques

An artistic installation of more than 80,000 red carnations adorns one of the most eagerly awaited openings for the luxury industry in Madrid: Galería Canalejas. The capital’s new golden mile of luxury. From Friday, 3 June, the historic doors open to the monumental buildings that house this 15,000 square metre commercial space, spread over three floors, of which 4,000 square metres are already occupied by 13 restaurants. The rest is destined for boutiques of some renowned international fashion, accessories and beauty brands.

One of the most talked-about premieres will be that of the Italian shoe brand Aquazzura, founded in 2012, which is opening its first shop in Spain. It will also be the launch of the new international concept shop of the Swiss watch brand Omega.

Another Swiss watchmaker, Rolex, and the fashion brands Saint Laurent, Valentino and Zegna will also have space in the same location. Isolée, specialising in beauty and lifestyle, will also open, with 20 exclusive cosmetics and perfumery brands.

Three other luxury boutiques are also scheduled to open: Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo and Giorgio Armani, which after eight years without a shop in the capital is returning to Madrid this autumn. These brands are joined by Hermès, the first to open a shop with street access in autumn 2020, coinciding with the opening of the Four Seasons hotel, and Cartier, which opens in November 2021. The size of each shop is around 200 square metres. It is a new commercial concept of luxury, “unknown in Spain”, emphasises the new director of Galería Canalejas, Isabel Antolín (Palencia, 1976), who is making her debut in the position, after accumulating experience in this industry in the United States and in Mexico City, where she worked in the Palacio de Hierro shopping centre and was part of the inauguration of El Palacio de los Palacios, in Polanco.

“The opening of these brands in Galería Canalejas confirms not only the enormous attraction of our project for international luxury brands, but also the potential of Madrid as a shopping destination, as well as an indisputable cultural and gastronomic reference. It is a benchmark for international luxury and places Madrid on the map of luxury shopping destinations alongside capitals such as London, Milan and Paris,” says Antolin, who defines luxury as a set of experiences, creativity and innovation to generate desire and emotion.

“It is about creating memorable moments and generating global experiences, because luxury is no longer a price tag, it is about providing value and experiences,” he adds. He also believes that Galería Canalejas is a space open to all types of clientele, broad and heterogeneous. “The challenge is to attract new generations who are the driving force behind brands, who value more disruptive, inclusive and, above all, sustainable concepts”.

Galería Canalejas holds treasures inside the historic building that housed the Banco Hispano Americano, dating from 1901, in Madrid’s Plaza de Canalejas, which houses some of the more than 17,000 ornamental pieces that have been meticulously restored and reincorporated into the buildings of Centro Canalejas. This is the case of the original art deco style stained glass window in the Banco Zaragozano’s operating courtyard, which is once again illuminated, after a careful restoration, in the central atrium of Galería Canalejas. The original historic mailbox signed by Juan José García for the Banco Español de Crédito (1920) or the imposing door of the 19-tonne vault, recovered from the basement of those banks, are also on display in this commercial space.

There are shops that contain a piece of the city’s history. Thus, for example, the Hermès boutique displays the unmistakable green marble counters of the La Equitativa building; or the Italian firm Zegna, which in the design of its new shop has incorporated an exceptional 1920s lamp and the plaques with the keys to the private safes of the clients of the Banco Español de Crédito, which more than a century ago made La Equitativa its headquarters. The Cartier boutique displays a tapestry with a composition of the brand’s iconic panther strolling through Madrid’s Royal Botanical Gardens