Albert Heijn reinvented in Eindhoven
How can supermarket chains respond to the needs of our younger generations? They might just find the answer in Eindhoven because there, in the city’s creative hotspot – Het Veem at Strijp-S – MVRO has created a new concept for Albert Heijn. This new Albert Heijn is part of Het Veem’s fresh food hall and follows the trend for clock-less eating: buy what you want, when you want it.
The fridge store
This new concept is also known as “the fridge store”. Obviously, they don’t sell fridges: walking into this shop feels like opening the door of your fridge to take out whatever you feel like eating. All the drinks are chilled, so you can get stuck in straight away. In addition, this relatively small shop has a surprisingly large and varied range: 3,500 items in 250 square metres, including fresh sushi, a large selection of salads and a seafood corner.
MVRO’s role in this concept
This project’s greatest challenge for MVRO was to make the most of the limited surface area and to create a recognisable but distinctly individual Albert Heijn store without violating the identity of the historic premises. This is how we did it:
Together with Format en Stamhuis Innovatie, we decided on the project specifications, optimally applying the lessons learned from the experience and needs of the AH-to-Go formula, smaller shops and other fresh food halls in the Netherlands.
An extension on the outside
We decided to add an extension, built by M to Build, to the building’s exterior to make the most of the available floor space. The former Philips factory is a listed building and we needed to preserve the premises’ original identity. Accordingly, the extension only meets the building at one spot.
Preserving the identity
It was important to keep as much as the building’s identity as possible in the finishing stages too, so we applied distinctive features to the existing floor, ceiling and wall coverings using items related to, and recognisable as, Albert Heijn. The sign is not the standard AH either: its neon look refers to Philips’ history.
A smart layout
MVRO helped make the most of the limited floor space, freeing it up for the widest possible range. The work included using fitted racks, building shallow wall units into critical spaces, adapting counters, putting the required space in the corridors to the best possible use and installing self-scan facilities instead of cash desks.
A small surface does not necessarily mean less work, so we arranged a bespoke structure and final layout. Throughout the rebuilding, we made sure that the food hall’s visitors were inconvenienced as little as possible, both in terms of logistics to and from the shop and the internal logistics.
If you’d like to see the final result, just drop into Eindhoven!