Spar’s supermarket in Budapest’s upscale MOM Park defies the design norms of a supermarket, instead making the store a retail destination.

The current model for a supermarket is pretty straightforward. Take a white box, with roughly symmetrical sides if possible, line the rear perimeter wall with fresh food counters, line the front with cash tills and insert aisles in a parallel form between the two. If possible, include a central ‘power aisle’ that runs at 90 degrees to the main layout and then step back.

Occasionally, things are done differently and for one of the most idiosyncratic versions of what can be achieved, look no further than the Spar supermarket in the upscale MOM Park in Budapest. Designed by local architectural practice Lab5, this is certainly a supermarket, but there the conventions end. Instead, shoppers are presented with an interior that offers organic curving lines and a wooden superstructure that resembles the ribcage of a whale. The latter is composed of plain wood, allowing the product to be foregrounded with its splashes of colour and branding.

Even the tills are curved and the store is lit in many areas with spotlights, allowing the product to be the star once more. This will not be cheap to create, but it does illustrate how a destination can be realised for what is normally a mundane activity