Go Dutch with Spar

VM&RD - - COLUMN -

The su­per­mar­ket breaks away from con­ven­tion to cre­ate a new mall lan­guage punc­tu­ated with wow fac­tors

Spar, a leading chain of su­per­mar­kets with Dutch ori­gins, had unique plans for its flag­ship store in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary. They wanted to take a back­ward step to take their cus­tomers to the mar­ket days. A com­pe­ti­tion was held and LAB5 Ar­chi­tects im­pressed Spar with their cus­tomer-friendly ‘mar­ket’ de­sign. Given the huge 2,000 sq. mt. of space to work with, it was a task to cre­ate a cozy en­vi­ron­ment. The con­cept was to be a break­through from the con­ven­tional su­per­mar­ket idea. “The main idea was to be clean and or­gan­ised, but cozy at the same time. They also were look­ing for a new lay­out, which is not so much the typ­i­cal shelf rows, but more like a mar­ket. So we used “is­lands” just like in the good-old times,” says An­dras Do­bos of LAB5 Ar­chi­tects. The store front is a white frame with red LED lights in it. The mall atrium in which Spar is lo­cated, is set in tones of white. So the frame was kept white to fol­low the mall lan­guage and the red LED lights suited the needs of the com­pany. Even though the con­cept was to bring in the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence of a mar­ket, the way the de­sign is cu­rated sets a con­tem­po­rary mood for the store. Through­out the store, the de­sign lan­guage as well as the zon­ing are con­nected through the ceil­ing de­sign. The ceil­ing guides the cus­tomer to the rear of the store, also pro­vid­ing al­ter­na­tive routes to move around. The su­per­mar­ket caters to the con­ve­nience of dif­fer­ent type of cus­tomers. A short route is de­signed for cus­tomers for quick buy and the longer route sees cus­tomers want­ing to spend more time; the ‘weekend-route’ as they call it. As for the de­sign, the ceil­ing is de­signed as per the re­quire­ments of the zones. A part of the mar­ket which is de­signed in a tra­di­tional su­per­mar­ket for­mat with reg­u­lar grids does not have a sus­pended ceil­ing. “We wanted to gain the space above the sus­pended ceil­ing zone, so we didn't put a ceil­ing, un­less it was re­ally nec­es­sary, and where we put it, it was used in a free-form way, for be­ing pre­sented as an in­di­vid­ual, ex­panded stat­uesque ob­ject,” says An­dras Do­bos. Zones which re­quired ceil­ing lights looked up to op­ti­cal ceil­ings. As per the con­sen­sus, the ceil­ing is the sta­tus quo el­e­ment of the store. The most eye-catch­ing fea­ture of the store are the wooden ribs. In the wine-sec­tion and the bak­ery prod­ucts, the ceil­ing with its wooden

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