Landini Associates tailored a store format to local consumers for the grocery retailer's entry into the Chinese market.

Many retailers have crashed and burned on the Chinese discount market because China has already mastered this sector, itself. So, when tasked with creating two pilot stores for German-rooted supermarket chain ALDI in Shanghai, Sydney-based design agency Landini Associates worked closely with the client to thoroughly understand the local market. 

Noticing that Chinese customers value quality and provenance, and prefer to visit multiple small, local retailers positioned for foot traffic, the team knew that the design needed to prioritise these qualities, while boldly expressing the ALDI brand in the busy Chinese food retail market. The resulting format and design is an evolution from the agency’s work for the brand in Australia, with key differences in scale, layout and tone.

In the Shanghai stores, emphasis in given to key departments, including fresh produce, snacks, imported goods and health and beauty, with the most noticeable difference being the development of an on-site Food Station, as well as the addition of ready meals to take away or consume at the in-store dining kiosk. 

The interiors are characterised by a palette of low cost but authentic materials such as locally sourced brick, terrazzo, an open concrete ceiling, warm timbers, and yellow accents, which add to the perception of freshness throughout. LED lighting reduces glare and running costs whilst improving ambience and colour rendering. 

In tandem with the interiors, the team also designed an extensive series of signage and graphic illustrations that are entirely unique to the Chinese market. 'The use of imagery allows the store to communicate language-free,' explains Landini Associates graphic design director Ben Goss. 'We could see that the use of an illustrative style paired with photography would work well and be a recognisable evolution of the ALDI Australia stores.’ At the end of the customers’ journey, a vibrant, colourful mural over the check-out counters captures the confidence and energy of what the brand has to offer. 

This space is featured in our title Learning from China: A New Era of Retail Design. Get your copy here.