Drama and food retailing may be found in the same place, but not often.
The new 86,111 sq ft Loblaws store in Toronto is, however, definitely the exception that proves the rule. Housed on the ground floor of a former ice hockey stadium in a commercial district of Canada’s business capital, this is a supermarket that is an experience in its own right.
Whether it’s the brightly coloured floors, the outsize departmental graphics that take up whole walls, or the decision to light specific areas but keep ambient light levels low, this is a store that has little truck with supermarket norms and is about far more than the mundane acquisition of comestibles.
With departments that are signposted with retro, stencil-like fonts and a real emphasis on abundance and freshness, this Loblaws is about the spectacle of food and is the sort of place you’d probably take a wander around just to admire the way in which things have been organised.
As well as the store’s shell and mid-shop equipment, all of which are non-standard, there are individual features that are truly eye-catching, with the ‘cheese wall’ among the most noteworthy. This is a tower of fridges rising 6m towards the ceiling and containing more than 400 cheeses – a range that would be interesting in its own right, but hard to miss when displayed in this manner.
The blueprint for the interior was created by Sydney-based consultancy Landini Associates and it has been open since the end of last year. If you happen to be in Toronto and want to see something different from the food retail vision presented south of the border by Whole Foods Market, look no further.
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