Best of the Best Designers Speak® - Video - Wingate Architects and Foodstuffs

The Best Design Awards are a major feature of the local design calendar and some of last year's winners have toured the country to offer first-hand insights into their projects. 

The 2021 series was recorded on video. Here is one from the series of twenty recorded.

New World Pukekohe
Chris Brading and Ryan Ward PDINZ
Wingate Architects and Foodstuffs

The team from Wingate Architects and Foodstuffs used this quote as a going mantra in their project, helping them keep focused on the need for evolution in the world of supermarket shopping and the environments built to support it. The team were engaged in a four and a half year process to reinvent the interior design of their New World supermarkets - a process which, previously, had been undertaken in an ad hoc manner. 

But, why change something that seemed to be working? 

According to the presenters, the nature of shopping and consumer habits are evolving and the large supermarkets need to keep up with the changing times. The way people shop is different now (less amount but more often) and the business models and technologies are shifting the landscape, making consumer expectations equally fluctuating. At the same time New World expressed that they needed to maintain a point of difference not just from their competitors but also from Foodstuff’s other brands. 

They established a set of principles which included:

  • Leading with fresh: which meant celebrating the freshness and point of origin of produce
  • Destination and food service:  which referred to customers being able to speak to various experts, in-store who can walk them through the meat/deli/bakery options etc.
  • Theatre + interest: being able to see what is happening behind the scenes at the supermarket and having that transparency present
  • Connection to the outside: giving customers naturally lit spaces
  • Bold branding: not taking away from the product that is on the shelves. 

Chris Brading and Ryan Ward PDINZ,
Wingate Architects 

The team then went on to spend three months researching, conducting customer interviews in and outside their stores with both existing and non-customers. 

They tried to understand both the national and local community context and how to translate that into an interior palette of materials and forms.

Prototypes were created in a virtual world to give potential customers digital walkthroughs and get live feedback of what, to them, was working and what wasn’t.

Wingate went on to discuss the execution: how to develop those learnings and set of five principles into forms. The retail flow within the store was a critical component, internal fixtures, the optimisation of sight lines, they all contributed here. 

Part of the solutions also included designing key departments - bakery, butchers, deli - to look individual and independent, as if they were small, boutique stores within a larger market. Part of New World 2.0 and the Pukekohe store was also to create standardisation but with a certain level of freedom to contextualise each store. 

The most important aspect of the Pukekohe iteration of New World, the team said, was that they now have a design DNA and a playbook to serve as a foundation to create similar experiences. 

Thanks Designworks for the pre-drinks venue

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DINZ Interviews

When the opportunity arises, DINZ interviews leading designers from here and overseas. These interviews seek to dig beneath the surface to address the common and uncommon challenges, problems and opportunities the design community faces.