Shop The Light Fantastic!

April 2, 2012

This week we were delighted to have been awarded a new supermarket project for a location in Abu Dhabi, our brief is to deliver something unique to the market and a concept that reflects the freshness and vibrancy of the local community.  As we research the project and projects from around the world that relate to ours we inevitably come across examples of concepts that really push our design buttons. That is what we have with today’s feature project.

Based in Shanghai the Lotus Fresh supermarket concept is one that aims at changing the perception of traditional supermarkets in the area. HEAD Architecture has created a store that goes against the grain of the traditional Chinese supermarket. The following is a project brief that was given by HEAD Architecture:

Lotus is a well established brand in China with 70 supermarkets across the country. In an effort to appeal to discerning shoppers in the Pudong area and to compete with the many new luxury food brands moving in to the Shanghai, Lotus commissioned HEAD to develop a new flagship store transitioning from 100% local brands, toward a larger component of foreign products and services.

The store has been re-planned around two main areas. Firstly a fresh section, followed by the dry area which encompasses non-food, beauty and preserved items. Many demonstration areas feature tables and customisable columns.

New chilled display counters are combined with back wall super graphics and timber canopies. New low-level shelving and counters across the fresh area create clear vistas to the back wall making the store feel larger and more open. The open market appearance is further enhanced by open ceilings and a set of store graphics that incorporate clear hand scripted fonts in Chinese and English

For us our favorite elements are the futuristic white lighting tracks that are above each aisle, this gives the design a sense of proportion, usually supermarkets have incredibly high ceilings with long drop down light or rafts and this can sometimes create a hollow effect. With this design feature there is more sense of form and structure. The fresh fruit and veg area is well appointed, the visual merchandising layout coupled with the smart and functional lighting design is something that really grabs my attention. Whilst I really like many elements of this design I am still not warming to the graphic and way finding of the store, still if that is only criticism then  it’s hardly a bad trade off compared to all that is good about the space.