Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens
It’s not every day that a client asks you to design the “world’s best food store” and then backs the project to the hilt. Engaged to design every facet of this new trading format, we continue to work with Loblaws, evolving and rolling this out across Canada whilst also helping to reposition other parts of their business and inventing new retail brands and formats. Maple Leaf Garden was always a place of entertainment hosting major sporting, political and cultural events, from the beloved Maple Leaf hockey team and Muhamad Ali, to music such as the Beatles ad Frank Sinatra. We wanted to continue this. Multiple eating places surrounded by the theatre of food production deliver a place to experiment and learn. We utilised the visual scale and brutality of the building combined with a very urban palette of materials to create theatre, energy and colour. The ground floor at Maple Leaf Gardens now consists of 4000 sqm's of fresh food and the theatre of visible production facilities. We also chose to celebrate the buildings history through an integrated design approach and achieved this by making these specifications a dynamic part of the overall design - exposing the “ghosts” of walls past, commissioning a 12m x 12m Maple Leaf sculpture of old stadium chairs, reusing stadium lighting, murals and much more. We used different signage treatments throughout. This includes signage of depressed in-situ concrete, blackened steel, copper plumbers’ pipe, neon, glass, wood, spot welded tin and paint on tile. The resulting visual environment is very distinctive, differing from the bland generic of most North American supermarkets. Not only has our design delivered a new genre in food retailing, reinventing the vernacular for so many years defined by Wholefoods, but more importantly it has become a social hub, a place of and for the community, adding a richness to that part of the city whilst also honouring and celebrating the building’s past. Above all else, MLG is still designed to make the food and the people making the food the heroes. No mean feat for a supermarket. Photography by Trevor Main. For more information please visit: www.landiniassociates.com