RDI’s Store of the Year: Mistral Wine, Brazil
New York’s Retail Design Institute has named the Mistral Wine Store in Sao Paulo, Brazil its 2012 Store of the Year. The tech-enhanced and extraordinarily merchandised store (it looks more like a modern art gallery than an wine shop) is the very first bricks-and mortar destination for Mistral – previously a web-only Brazilian wine distributor. Brazilian architects Studio Arthur Casas created the design concept.
Studio Arthur Casas architect Raphael França, who worked on the Mistral project, told Stylus he believes today’s alcohol shops should offer both bite-sized notes and in-depth product information conveying the story behind each bottle. “Consumers have access to all the product data they want [online], but this data is scattered”. To that end, Mistral’s shop has a touchscreen table that presents information on up to 23 selected wines. Tables display ingredient lists and video interviews with wine producers.
França also emphasises the importance of balancing interactive technology with real-world edutainment opportunities. At the Mistral store, these include a wine book library and tasting room, which create an experience around the product – something that cannot be duplicated online. After all, says França: “No matter how much information you have on a wine, the taste is what matters.”
The space itself has been crafted with the kind of attention to detail consumers would be more used to finding in a premium fashion boutique. The tendency for wine merchants to use boxes and storage containers in-store, creating a somewhat cluttered space, has been replaced with a new emphasis on the bottles themselves, which protrude from the low, illuminated walls as if suspended in space. Only the very tips of the bottles’ necks remain hidden, allowing the labels to stand out for easy browsing.
For more on store designs where the product’s packaging is central to the creative concept, see Packaging Meets Store Concepts. For more on how shifts in the alcohol industry are impacting on branding, see Packaging: Rebranding Alcohol.