March 13, 2017
D L English Design Conveys Essence of Mexican Retailer’s Rebrand
Five New Soriana Stores Offer Upgraded, Premium-Level Experiences for Customers
MEXICO CITY: Soriana, a major Mexican retailer, has awarded five store commissions to D L English Design, a full-service design firm in Pasadena, CA, that specializes in retail and hospitality environments. As an expert in bringing retail concepts to life, D L English Design worked with Soriana (a brand previously perceived as discount) to create a more refined image through new store layouts, exterior and interior design, lighting, and environmental signage and décor. The firm has completed two Premium Hypermarkets (selling everything from groceries, to electronics, to apparel) and is planning three Supermarkets PLUS (upscale food marts emphasizing fresh and gourmet items) throughout Mexico.
This chain of projects began with a 79,000-square-foot sales floor Premium Hypermarket in the upscale Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City, which opened in June 2016. The second hypermarket, with a 110,000-square-foot sales floor, opened in December 2016 in the San Pedro district of Monterrey. Based on the success of its designs, D L English will create the Supermarket PLUS format at three additional locations scheduled for completion in 2018.
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. That store—which is located on the first floor of a multi-use development designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, Hon. FAIA—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 at Soriana (a brand previously perceived as discount) 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/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-square-foot 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 D L English Creative Director Nathan Charrissesin. “The store is quite large, so we created a legibility to the design for customers to navigate the space with ease and fluidity.”
D L English Design is a multi-disciplinary design firm with a focus on innovative, consumer-driven experiential spaces. Founded in 1996 by Deborah L. English, IIDA, the firm creates enticing commercial environments through concept ideation, programming, space planning, architecture, furniture and interior design, in-house fabrication/installation, and environmental graphics. The award-winning firm capitalizes on a free flow of diverse talents, experiences, and insights to create superior solutions for every design challenge.