by Jincy IypeAug 28, 2023
Located in the heart of a shopping mall in the city of Guadalajara, the second LEGO store in Mexico, also designed by Mexican design practice Chain+Siman, aims to overcome a horde of design constraints including building regulations and strict corporate parameters to deliver a space that can be a haven for LEGO lovers. Impossible to miss visually, and designed so to catch eyeballs the moment one steps foot in the mall, the design scheme reflects elements of the franchise’s branding while creating a spacious retail space for customers to explore the expansive world of LEGO.
Beside the common challenges of integrating the franchise’s branding and creating an aesthetic but functional space for unhindered conversations between the buyer and the product, as is the case with numerous retail design ventures today, the firm successfully provides a sense of uniqueness and character by exploring the available design resources at their disposal, and extrapolating their functional aspects into the aesthetic.
Among those, structural design was one of the biggest challenges that the architects had to face, one that Chain+Siman sought to convert to the leading concept for the store. This manifested as a clear, column free space layout with a light aluminium framework that allows the users to visually traverse the entire store. A perimetral foundation with insulated footings supports the design's four corner columns and beams spanning across the store. Meanwhile, low rise interior walls have been built to give the volume a sense of lightness, as opposed to solid walls against which display columns are stacked. The resultant spaciousness of the store also allows younglings enough room to run around and truly indulge in their shopping experience.
Apart from spanning the entirety of the 198 sq m column free floor area, the network of secondary beams along the ceiling, apart from the four peripheral beams, also supports the suspended 5m x 2.5 x 2.5 alucobond panel clad yellow cuboidal frames. The idea here was to introduce a touch of colour and personality to the project while keeping the store visually and spatially unhindered. This sense of cleanliness is accentuated by the decision to hide all of the store’s installations, electric as well as sanitary, inside the alucobond-covered beams.
The extremely efficient structural scheme facilitates uninterrupted views from inside the store as well as outside, from the ground as well as a vantage point from any of the floors in the mall above. On entering the store, customers are greeted with a red LEGO monolith, and a bright yellow piece earmarking the ceiling with the signature LEGO block grooves. The farthest wall of the store from the entrance emulates scaled up, multiple white LEGO blocks stacked together. A standout is the dispensing mechanism incorporated on the wall, wherein patrons can walk up and draw smaller LEGO blocks by weight, sorted by colour and type: a true LEGO lover’s fantasy.
Along with fusing signature and newfound aesthetic sense with functionality and constraint based designing, the store’s simplistic yet efficient planning is able to deliver on the brand’s value so that customers, both current and prospective, find themselves at home with the brand’s familiar and store’s unique identity. Contrary to the paradoxical nature of retail design, which is usually guided by a number of external factors, the differentiation value put forward in this project makes for a unique and different shopping experience. Returning home with a new set of LEGO is always a fond memory, and the store’s design by Chain+Siman builds on the fondness of the experience.
Name: LEGO Store GDL
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Site Area: 198 sqm
Architect: Chain + Siman
(Text by Sharmin Oanali, intern at stirworld.com)