Scandinavian Designers Reinvent an Iconic Wine Shop Brand

Scandinavian Designers Reinvent an Iconic Wine Shop Brand
Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 4 september 2008

When designers begin to create a new store concept for a client, typically projects begin with a survey of the competitors stores to gauge where opportunities for improvement might exist. But designers Aleksi Hautamäki and Anders Nord faced a rare opportunity when they began work on a new concept wine store for Alko in Finland, no competitors.

Alko which is state owned, was given its monopoly status 75 years ago. It has a strong role in the Finnish society and has had divided opinions for decades. Those in favour of the monopoly think that the controlled distribution reduces social problems, while others view that alcoholic beverages should be available elsewhere, too. The challenge for designers was to develop a concept that would better serve all the different customer groups while departing from the very traditional way Alko used to look and operate.

The resulting design breaks the conventional style of wine shops that use dark wood and traditional display cases. The new store uses light Douglas fir on all the furniture surfaces, on suspended ceilings and on the floors. Inspiration came from the works of designers such as Aalto, Wirkkala and Tapiovaara. And this Finnish tradition in the use of wood was brought into the 21st century.

The flagship building site is on a prime spot next to the Parliament building and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The building was bombed by the Russians during the Second World War and part of the beams had been damaged and repaired later with concrete, which made it impossible to open up the suspended ceiling. Also because of the tight alcohol legislation in Finland, designers had plenty of restrictions. Aleksi noted ”You can’t, for example, have hard liquor in view from the shop window, and we had to think how to hide it.”

The new graphic identity has been carefully considered and merged into the three-dimensional store design. Wayfinding and graphics were structured to be positioned at 90° angles to be easier to read.

We didn’t want to compete with the curves of a bottle, we wanted Alko to be standing firmly giving guidance and expertise about their product, says Anders.

Service areas are located on both floors in the middle of the main circulation. They consist of desks with digital displays mounted on the tabletops where customers can browse the selection. There is a smaller ‘curated’ selection for fast shopping near the store entrance and adjacent to the checkout for customers in a rush.

Because of the vast quantity of shelving and bottles, Aleksi and Anders thought the space would need some character elements to break it up. They designed a light installation hanging on top of the stairs to draw customers to the heart of the new Alko experience, the service area and the new downstairs wine boutique. The designers also made a large logo of cotton strings, using a traditional technique, to create intimacy by the checkout.

We wanted customers who usually spend 6 minutes at Alko to spend at least 12 minutes – 6 minutes shopping and 6 minutes exploring and learning about the products, says Anders.

Project photography by Pierre Björk


How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Today

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Winthrop, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Financial Services Today

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Advertising Today

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Thanks to a new partnership between the ride sharing service and Budweiser, drunk passengers are able to receive free rides

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

Travel Today

What Happens When An Entire Airport Terminal Rebrands Itself?

JFK's Terminal 4 underwent a dramatic design facelift to guide and delight travelers

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Today

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

No search results found.