TORONTO—Near the exit of most grocery stores sits a small, wood-paneled wine store.
Never noticed it? Retailer Andrew Peller Limited doesn’t blame you. As a result, the quiet little wine stores are about to get a lot more conspicuous.
Local design firm Perennial Inc. recently rebranded the stores, now named Aisle43, dropping the traditional staid wine aesthetic for a crisp new look.
“It’s a huge change for them but it’s also a huge change in the category,” explained Perennial creative director Solange Rivard about the radical transformation. “There’s a real clichéd approach to [wine] store design. Very rustic and a little bit masculine… Peller really pushed us to look at how people are drinking wine today, who they are and how can we speak to them.”
Aisle 43 is purposely designed to catch the eye of tired grocery shoppers who stream by everyday. Featuring plenty of white space, the minimalist design of the store is punctuated by bright, vibrant colours representing the flavours of food and qualities of wine.
“The shape of the bottles and the colour of the wine is really highlighted in that we’ve minimized a lot of the visualize noise that comes from over signing and over designing,” says Rivard. Perennial also created a simplified iconography system that colour codes each wine (whites have a Chartreuse label), and uses stark, simple fonts for product signage that carry only minimal information.
Also contributing to the brighter feel are large, modular, backlit panels surrounding the bulkhead of the store featuring macro images of foods and flavours.
“They’re designed in a way that they can be changed seasonally, replaced in the fall and winter with more relevant imagery,” said Rivard. “That design was quite innovative because just by changing those panels, we can transform and refresh the store quite easily.”
As for the name?
“It refers to the 43rd parallel,” says Rivard, referring to the global latitude shared by winemakers in Niagara region of Canada, Bordeaux, France, and Tuscany, Italy. But “it also refers to the extension of the grocery store,” laughs the creative director.
Peller has opened two Aisle43 locations in St. Catharines, Ont. and Toronto and plans to complete the retail transformation by rolling out over 100 of the new spaces in the near future. Contact: www.aisle43.com; www.perennialinc.com