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Food Retailing / Supermarkets

Portfolio: Foodland, Honolulu

This locale-specific store debuts in Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center




Designing a new supermarket concept is sometimes a test, but when more than a third of the space has to function as a gastronomy and food-to-go destination, then the proverbial “thinking caps” must go on. This was the challenge for Zurich-based design firm Interstore, which was retained to create a Foodland store with a 29,600-square-foot sales area in Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center, the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world, with more than 240 stores.

And while Hawaii may be part of the U.S., outside the contiguous states, it is a world apart in terms of its culture.

Bernhard Heiden, creative director at Interstore, says that this was clear from the outset: “It was important to do a Hawaiian store, a store for local people. From [Foodland’s] side, it was very important to have some European ideas, but really, it was all about Hawaii. You could never do this project in Germany.”

The outcome is a mid-tier store that carries a vibrant color palette, and one which is not necessarily focused on luxury. “Everything is really personal, and the color scheme is a little bit [like a] lollipop,” says Heiden. For those choosing to eat at one of the store’s food stations, Heiden says that theater also has a part to play with much of the food being prepared in situ.    

Practically, from Interstore’s perspective, working between Hawaii and Zurich (an 11-hour time difference) on “a completely different timetable and distance was difficult, but we managed it,” as Heiden puts it. The challenge was overcome by regularly working in Honolulu as much as in the Zurich design studio, despite the travel involved.

Foodland in the Ala Moana Center features a unique design with an appearance that might be unusual in the other 49 U.S. states, but here, it is perfectly in tune with both its location and the shoppers who frequent it.


Foodland Super Market, Honolulu County, Hawaii

Design and Graphics
Interstore Design, Zurich

Ceilings, Fixtures, Furniture
Schweitzer Project, Naturno, Italy

Flooring and General Contractor
Albert C. Kobayashi Inc., Waipahu, Hawaii

Solavanti Lighting, Dallas

Matthew M.F. Lum, Honolulu


Photography: Douglas Peebles Photography, Kaneohe, Hawaii



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