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


This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

Mobile Today

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture Today

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design Today

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing


Katrina Lake

Retail, Customer Service, Fashion

Syndicated Today

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability Today

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture Today

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture Today

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising Today

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising Today

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

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

Arts & Culture Today

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings


Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'

Design Today

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia Today

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising Today

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.