Two hypermarkets completed, vast selection is expertly choreographed
Major Mexican retailer, Soriana, awarded five store commissions to DL English Design. The Pasadena, Calif.-based firm worked with the brand to create new store layouts, exterior and interior design, lighting, environmental signage, and décor. Two premium hypermarkets selling everything from groceries, to electronics, to apparel were completed last year. Three Supermarket PLUS projects, featuring upscale food marts emphasizing fresh and gourmet items, are scheduled for completion in 2018.
A 79,000-sq.-ft. sales floor premium hypermarket in the upscale Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City opened in June 2016. The second hypermarket, with a 110,000-sq.-ft. sales floor, was opened December 2016 in the San Pedro district of Monterrey.
The new Soriana Premium Hypermarket experience is based on the prototype design developed by D L English’s bilingual design team for the Polanco location in Mexico City, which draws on Mexican design traditions. The store—which is located on the first floor of a multi-use development—is configured to distinguish grocery and general merchandise areas as different “boutiques” within the overall retail space. The design creates a premium-level experience for customers shopping through inventive interiors and displays.
“A common thread throughout the hundreds of markets we have designed is creating relevance through purpose, story, and style—the meaningful integration of local culture into the store,” says Deborah L. English, IIDA, CCID, founder and president of D L English Design. “Through design, we connect the brand story with the community story. We find common ground between the core values of the brand and the community, giving a visual voice to those values inside the physical space.”
The Mexico City hypermarket exhibits a new, hybrid marketplace concept that encompasses a vast selection of product types, including high-end specialty foods, conventional groceries, and general merchandise from baby clothes to ATVs. A full-scale, 5,000-sq.-ft. food hall, named Avenida Nueve for its nine food stations, stresses variety and originality in its offerings ranging from pasta and crepes, to a new take on Mexican crudo, and accompanying beer and wine bars.
In addition to expected fresh food groceries, the store’s service departments emphasize local and fresh wares; the bakery makes goods from crusty breads to fine cakes and pastries on site, Mexican cheeses are made in house, and an interactive digital sommelier offers wine tasting and beer growler refills.
Each part of the hypermarket is articulated with its own character to enhance the shopping experience and guide the customer. Punches of bright colors, bold signage, and geometric patterns inspired by Mexican design traditions distinguish the grocery areas.
General merchandise areas—selling electronics, apparel, health and beauty, pharmacy, home, baby, pets, toys, office, seasonal, and non-food grocery—are rendered in a more neutral palette and can be reached through a separate entrance. Strategic adjacencies between each part of the store and a wide, main aisle encircling the entire interior, unify the different shopping areas within the hypermarket’s large footprint.
“The design is choreographed so that every venue becomes a stopping point,” says Nathan Charrissesin, creative director at D L English. “The store is quite large, so we created a legibility to the design for customers to navigate the space with ease and fluidity.”