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Naturally, London

We now cross to North London once again, to Holloway in the London Borough of Islington. It can often be difficult to discover creatively led convenience stores. I guess the clue is in the name – convenience doesn’t necessarily conjure up images of awesome interiors. Yet this year we have found two equally vibrant and stimulating grocery stores that deserve recognition. Both are extremely well designed and fabulously fitted out. On the Holloway Road, Naturally successfully combines a traditional grocery store with a delicatessen in a contemporary package that is executed with utter perfection. This delightful new store offers its customers a fresh bakery, charcuterie, cheese counter and a very novel approach to food shopping that has community at its heart.

Whilst many of their products travel thousands of miles across Europe to reach the shop, the intention was always to supply the best fresh produce and be transparent about its origins, as well as being as sustainable as possible in the process and reducing waste. In addition to re-sealable and re-useable craft paper pouches for groceries, Naturally introduced a really iconic self service dispenser for the bulk of the dry food such as grains, cereals and pasta. A series of large, BPA free plastic containers are arranged on the wall to allow customers to help themselves. Not only does the system look amazing as a whole – set off against multiple wooden slats - but it reduces packaging and waste products encouraging the customer to reuse their pots and jars.

The modern, all glass storefront engages your senses from the start. The impressive charcuterie and cheese counter are visible immediately to the right side and really stand out from the natural wood tones of the overall interior. The area is simply tiled, mostly in white with some green highlights at the front of the counters and the logo behind, on the back wall. A lowered glass display allows you to select meats and cheeses. It provides a fresh, clean and innovative feature to the environment. The bakery counter is positioned beyond this and has a single, pendant lamp that introduces a splash of green to the otherwise all wood surroundings.

On the left side an exposed red brick wall runs the length of the store creating a raw urban feel, which is framed by large, muted porcelain tiles on the floor and suspended, slatted wooden joists traversing the ceiling. A mixture of free standing and wall mounted shelving units in mild steel and OSB (oriented strand board) grace the left perimeter wall; further freestanding display units are positioned in the centre of the store and stock an eclectic mix of store cupboard staples, pickles and jams.

A small sales counter is located towards the rear of the store, the unpackaged and community areas are beyond. A group of glass, pendant lights are suspended above a large table to encourage customer dwell time and interaction with staff. The beams in this area have been extended from the ceiling to the floor and add to the intimate atmosphere that has been evoked through the use of quirky lighting, tables and seating. Wall shelves are dressed with living plants which increase the fresh nature of the store, as well as the homely appeal.

This new venture delivers a store that is both modern and traditional at the same time – practical yet pleasing. Essentially using a modular system which can be quickly and easily changed to suit and fit their diverse merchandise. It has a very distinct personality often lacking in the convenience sector.

Designer, FormRoom has created an interior rather than a mere shop for Naturally’s first launch. Two further stores are planned for London before going nationwide. If you are lucky enough to have one nearby, it is definitely a great place to grab your groceries.


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