Design showcase: The Market at Longo's brings grocery store to historic building

Canadian chain The Market by Longo’s has relaunched with an entirely new design and strategy, developed by Ampersand Studio.

Grocery chain Longo’s, established in 1956, has run five small urban stores under The Market by Longo’s name since 2006. In response to a massive process of urban densification happening in downtown Toronto the company has changed the format to align more closely with shopper needs. It now has a clear focus on fresh, high quality, convenient food.

The Longo’s brand has been refreshed to incorporate capital letters and a more modern font.

“It was important to reflect Longo’s tradition for great food. We stayed true to Longo’s existing brand while creating a unique experience for the urban foodie,” says Ampersand Studio principal Glen Kerr.

The format has been launched at Imperial Plaza, built in the 1950s and widely considered  masterpiece of mid century modernism. It has recently been converted into condominiums, meaning an influx of additional residents.

The store design seeks to respect the heritage of the building. It incorporates existing finishes, including marble and granite, as features of the store. The 8,500 store has been laid out to encourage discovery of foodstuffs while conveying a market-like feel.

A simple and authentic collection of materials, fixtures and wayfinding material is combined with a narrow colour palette that stays true to the original architecture. Ampersand Studio designed chandeliers and wall sconces that emulated those of the era when the store was built.

The most prominent detail is a mural, ‘The Story of Oil’, by R. York Wilson, which is located at the checkouts, while the original floor pattern inspired a framed window feature that features historical images of the neighbourhood.

Photographs: Michael Mahovlich