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Piața Unirii, 1985; credit: John Squier. He and his partner went on an Eastern European car journey in 1985. This picture shows Piața Unirii which was demolished a year later in 1986. Source:
Has the Marketplace been reduced to a brand?

I r i n a   M e l i ț ă

We could say that there is a takeover attempt, because it’s a hot subject, which can easily become just a cool concept without any substance.

Especially the historic marketplaces, the beautiful ones, with a strong architectural presence, are becoming a new type of restaurant, a mix between the two, you can shop and also eat on the spot; which is fine, as long as the produce is truly seasonal, the sellers are truly small farms and the relationship you can build with them becomes close and personal.

Ultimately, what is important is how we protect what is behind the brand, even if it IS becoming a brand.

But I think that the main idea that will save the concept of marketplace from becoming a meaningless brand is its core identity which is totally different from what a brand is (“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer”). The market is not a steady, clear, frozen thing that a brand usually promises. It’s fluctuating, always changing, following the seasons, various people, various produce, even various places.

In this you find its true and long-lasting appeal: the excitement of the discovery. It’s like a going back to the roots kind of feeling, you don’t know what you will find, you don’t know what will appeal to you enough to make you buy it, and therefore what you will eat! The colors, the smells, the friendly talk...You don’t know what will convince you, seduce you.

This is never present in a supermarket where you never stumble upon something. In the supermarket it’s like a duty. At the market it’s your discovery.

That’s why it doesn’t even matter if it’s a brand or not.. People will always know the difference as long as we keep the true meaning of the marketplace alive.

Irina Meliţă studied architecture at the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest between 1998 and 2004, followed by a Master’s Degree in “Integrate Urban Planning“ in the same institution. She taught at the University, 1st year architecture studio, for four years. During the studies she had a one year Erasmus scholarship in Toulouse and several internships and collaborations in Geneva, Paris and Lausanne. She has acted as a teaching guest at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland in 2014. Irina worked since 2004 in several partnerships, until she founded POSTER, together with Ştefan Simion, in 2007.

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