REINVENTING THE SUPERMARKET GLOBALLY WITH ESSELUNGA, ITALY
Reinventing the supermarket layout globally
Landini Associates together with Esselunga, Italy’s oldest supermarket chain, have collectively challenged and then radically reinvented the global supermarket layout at the brand’s newest supersstore in Brescia, Italy. The reinvention is quiet yet revolutionary, setting a new benchmark globally. The design team have swung the store through 90 degrees so that the checkouts - normally at the front of a supermarket - are now to the right within the store, replaced with a glass box of “production” showcasing the Bar Atlantic cafe, deli kitchens and bakery production, all previously hidden. This is the front door; an expression of Esselunga’s commitment to making food. The front of the shop becomes a social place of visible “making”. A Super Market, not a supermarket. Checkouts no longer monopolise a space now used for talking, meeting and eating.
The second radical change to the traditional supermarket layout is the introduction of “boomerang” aisles. More specifically, the design introduces triangulated grocery aisles to the rear that correspondingly stagger out in front of you, like a “catchers mitt”; a big glove inviting customers into the store’s “dry food heart” by using merchandise as the primary signage. Every adjacency is rethought and reinvented, with the first aisle in celebration of speedy food shopping; the deli, bakery and dairy, linked to produce and protein. Everything you need for a quick and convenient shop if you so choose. The store perimeter is home to specialist departments (operationally time and motion efficient) but now worth the travel.
Abundance of glass allows for theatre of transparent food production
In addition to an abundance of glass to showcase the theatre of food production, the design incorporates further theatre straight from the Esselunga factories. As they leave through the checkouts, customers are entertained by projected films of the manufacturing plants that Esselunga could never before show, but that are entertaining masterclasses in their food production skills. Key materials used are concrete, timber, perforated panels, stainless steel, coloured tiles, concrete floor and exposed concrete ceiling.
Esselunga is known for continuous innovation, value, and their dedication to fresh food of the highest quality. Landini Associates are globally renowned for their work in food. Clients include Loblaws (all banners) (Canada), McDonald’s (Global), Marks and Spencers (UK,) Walgreens (US), Emart (South Korea), ALDI (Australia and China), David Jones (Australia) and Selfridges (London), amongst many others. Landini Associates and Esselunga continue to work together.
Project quotes from the designers
“Throughout all our projects, Landini Associates strive to “Reinvent Normal”. This is a process by which everything is challenged, broken down and if needs be discarded. It is simply a way of examining whether a norm, or a starting point, makes any sense. What results is the reinvention of the vernacular of any category that we are working in. Challenge the norm, invent something new and memorable and you’ve “Reinvented Normal”. Sometimes this requires bravery, other times just the application of common sense. Perhaps they are the same thing!” Mark Landini, Creative Director, Landini Associates
“In the case of supermarkets placing payment stations in the most prominent and valuable space would seem, to us at Landini, not to make sense. So we agreed with our client to change this. The front of any high street store is its shop window, normally a place where its product is promoted. That’s all we did here, promote Esselunga’s ability to make great food. Requiring customers to read signs so they know what’s in an aisle is tiresome. Better to show them instead by staggering the aisles. All this simply makes sense. Blindly following what others have done, just because it’s the norm, doesn’t.” Paul Gates, Associates Director, Landini Associates