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A sustainable designer supermarket

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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An interest in healthy, organic food, despite toughening times, has grown considerably in recent years. Markets that sell organic produce, are steadfast becoming one of the most popular in a wide demographic of areas. Organic food, by definition, is food, whether packaged or loose, that contains no pesticides, hormones and other toxic substances. On top of this, the produce is farmed in a less aggressive manner for the environment, supporting local production, preserving soil fertility and improving the living conditions of animals.

In most cities in the UK, it is not uncommon to find a Farmer's Market on a Sunday, where people come to support their local agricultural industry. Unfortunately, even though events like this are already happening, there are still many who are not convinced by the organic movement, and are still shopping at larger chain supermarkets for convenience and variety. Once upon a time, we cooked meals based on what was seasonally available, nowadays, the focus is on cost and satisfying our needs.

Today on homify, we will visit two organic stores, which are a far cry in terms of design, from your average supermarket. Employing wonderful interior architecture design principles, you will see two European supermarkets which are conscious not only of the environment, but high quality design too.


In the streets of San Sebastián, you will find the organic supermarket Organic49. This project was designed to create a space that meets the needs of a supermarket, but at the same time goes in line with the business idea and values that an organic grocer wants to convey: a way to cultivate and consume differently, resulting in a space where the end goal is sustainability.

As shown in this image, the key material in the interior fit-out was used pallets. Nowadays, pallets are a symbol of the recycling and upcycling movements which have taken the world by storm. Transformed as needed, pallets can live again as great shelves for storage and display units. Thus, these elements give an industrial and warehouse feel, yet unlike most factories, are in line with a more friendly system for the environment.


On the ground floor, there is additional storage space and section for management staff. Continuing with the theme of used timber packaging, this section mimics the appeal of the lower shop floor. A neat and organised space that is light filled, compact and sustainable. 

Biomarket La Aldea

On a slightly grander scale, more so than your local organic grocer (also known as a biomarket), you will find the La Aldea. Here, besides purchasing food in a friendly supermarket environment, you can also taste the products which are found in store. This project, completed by Intra Architects, was faced with the challenge of creating a supermarket in a pleasant location, in a space with irregular geometry due to its laneway location. As you will soon see, the architects fulfilled the brief wonderfully, designing an internal layout that is both interesting and easy to navigate. 

Stepping inside…

The solution proposed by Intra Architects was to create a corridor from the entrance to invite store goers to the rear, where the shop opens out to reveal a large space. On one side you will see a ramp leading from the entrance to the back, on the other, a staircase flanked by shelves. The natural light coming through the windows in the upper part of the hall also illuminates the seating area, equipped with tables and chairs where you can taste the products in the store.

Design inspired by nature

In La Aldea, the interior was designed to enhance natural materials such as wood and stone. Choosing a linoleum floor is not accidental, it is an environmentally friendly material. Here, we see it in two different shades of green, a colour inspired by nature and ecology, and an ideal that is in line with the corporate image of the company. Careful lighting creates a warm and inviting atmosphere—the perfect change from the brightly lit and sterile chain supermarkets of today. 

To see some more examples of eco-friendly designs, click here.

Have you jumped on the organic food wagon, so to speak? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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