Carrefour Brings The Market to Madrid

By Mark Faithfull

Photos by Interstore/Daniel Horn


The longstanding Spanish tradition of local weekly markets has been transformed into a premium supermarket in Madrid in the form of Carrefour Market. Measuring 21,000 sq. ft., this upscale store from French supermarket giant Carrefour trades over two floors and offers a wide assortment of gourmet products, including a sushi counter and more than 600 organic products.

Carrefour worked with Italian design agency Interstore to create a concept that gives customers the feeling of buying fresh food at a traditional weekly market on a Spanish piazza. The typical smells, colors, seasonally changing produce and new discoveries greet shoppers entering the market, with the grocery department occupying center stage, surrounded by the other fresh departments. In the basement, this atmosphere continues in the wine department, dubbed “la bodega,” while the rest of the lower floor is dedicated to the remaining grocery and pre-packaged goods using a simple and clean layout.

A transparent glass storefront attracts passersby who can easily glimpse the fresh fruits and vegetables housed within. Once inside, each area has its own character and interacts with customers through graphics placed prominently behind the fresh counters, explains Luca Viglianti, Interstore art director.

The design scheme features different wood tones, decorative tiles in white and red, a gray floor and visual highlights in copper for a rustic style, while the graphic language helps to guide customers through the different departments using varying hues. A neutral palette has been juxtaposed with vivid mosaics, while in the fresh departments handmade illustrations for each section are visible behind the counters and are supported by a simple, clear font in black or copper.

“Natural materials like stone, wood and metal are the main characters of this concept,” Viglianti adds. “The focus is set on the product; the design and materials are selected accordingly. The meat section, for example, is dominated by stone, a material that transmits an impression of strength, quality, resistance and masculinity. Whole hams on the bone are presented in front of a dark brick wall.”

The free-flowing layout encourages exploration, much like an outdoor market, urging shoppers to discover new items and delectable treasures.

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