|Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens cafe|
|Impressive use of scale, texture and typography around the store|
|Maple Leaf Gardens, 60 Carlton Street, Toronto (intersection of Carlton and Church)|
ML: The building is both striking and imposing primarily because of its scale and brutality. "It's brutally beautiful". When we first viewed it, most of the interior was being removed, but it was its size that impressed us as well as it's urban location. So scale became something that seemed to be part of the language that we should use. That was a starting point - that, and the urban location which also influenced our approach to signage and materials too.
|A view of the signage filling the 21 foot-high exposed concrete ceilings|
ML: The inspiration for scale came from the building but other elements were influenced by how signs have been simply made or applied for years, primarily in an urban context. Many of these materials are used in (and are materials of) the city, but not of supermarkets, so we felt that the store should belong to the city, visually.
|Tin Bakery lettering, set in charming Script Bold|
|Sushi signage, set in chunky Gill Sans Ultra Bold (how delightful is that tittle on the lower case i?)|
|Pizza Pasta copper tube lettering|
|Geometric Deli lettering, set in concrete|
|Canteen in white neon light lettering|
|Grill in red neon light lettering|
|Food lettering shaped from molded steel rods|
|Super graphics around the perimeter of the store, set in Univers Light Ultra Condensed in a variety of mediums. Above: Fishmonger, in tile|
|Butcher, in tile|
|Dairy, on CFC sheets|
|[Natural] Foods on plywood (N.B. 8 foot tall panels = 7000 point type!)|
CR: There is a stencil font used prominently through the store merchandising and promotional material which has a distinctly industrial feel. What is this font, and does it have a story behind it?
|Stencil font in its original stadium context (Photo credit: Mark Landini)|
|Stencil font, AG Book Stencil®, applied to aisle signage|
|AG Book Stencil® again, juxtaposed with oversized perimeter signage|
|More AG Book Stencil®, as well as contrast of size and direction|
|AG Book Stencil® applied to promotional materials (image courtesy of Loblaws)|
CR: Even though this is a corporate grocery chain, it does not feel like any other Loblaws I have visited. Did you have to follow any Loblaws corporate brand guidelines, or did you have 100% free reign with the design / typographic choices?
ML: There were no guildlines that we had to follow; in fact, we even refined the identity, modernizing and simplifying it a little, but this is normal. Our brief was to "reinvent" not to "evolve" so we were handed pretty much a clean slate with many of the guiding principles coming from the location more than what Loblaws had already done. That said, they have a history of using scale in their signage both internally and externally which we love and so we felt that there was a natural connect here.
|Existing structural columns covered with moments from Maple Leaf Gardens' rich social and cultural history|
ML: Some were. The seat sculpture for example was an idea that we had and as such had a hand in. Of the other two main murals the one in the cafe was a recreation of one from the old site, whilst the one behind the checkouts we created to localise the space but also to brighten and cheer up this part of the customer journey.
|Cafe mural, created for Maple Leaf Gardens in 1994 by Ontario artist John Russell Richmond, was photographed, enlarged and remounted for the new space|
|Typographic checkout mural, designed by Landini Associates|
|More checkout mural, composed of Toronto landmarks|
|Checkout mural detail, using dynamic directional lettering|
CR: This was clearly a huge undertaking. Were there any challenges to meeting this store's typographic and signage needs?
ML: Our main challenge was to keep it as unthematic and simple as possible. Not to dominate the merchandise too much but to try and find a balance that was both in keeping with the buildings history but also it's new use. All displays are product led and product intensive and we have avoided display for display sake. Also, we wanted to do something new in this vernacular. The building demanded it and our client asked that we do something fresh so the challenge was to meet both of these briefs.
|More great departmental typography. Above: Cheese, set in classic Bodoni BE Medium (Thanks Steven!)|
|Patisserie, set in the luxurious Falkner Pro|
ML: No one single thing as I'm very happy with how it all hangs together. I like how the various elements that make up the whole work as one. I love the contrast between the old uncovered building and the new more engineered elements of steel and glass. I'm delighted that the strong colour palette does not overpower the food but makes it a warm, friendly but also a passionate place. But none of this would be possible if the lighting was not so special. For that we have the Loblaws' team to thank and Mark Schembri in particular. It's rare that a client has the vision to capture what you have imagined and for me the lighting is the real hero (after the food and the people, that is).
|Revitalized exterior signage on busy Carlton Street (more details about exterior here)|