Morrisons Colindale Store - London (UK)

Urban style in North London

The new Morrisons store recently opened in the northern suburbs of Britain's capital city chooses Italian ceramics for its interiors
Claudia Capperucci
Darnton Egs
WM Morrisons
A. Andrews & Sons Ltd
Year of completion

Located off the beaten tourist track, the area of London around Edgware Road mirrors the city’s multiethnic personality, and like many other London boroughs it has been transformed in the last century from a purely industrial district to a residential area featuring a variety of amenities, including two big parks, Silkstream Park and Montrose Park. We are in the Colindale area in North London, and this where Morrisons, the renowned supermarket chain, has elected to open its new store. The interior design project for the new store, commissioned to the Leeds based architects studio Darnton EGS, is inspired by the idea of a street market. Morrisons is the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain, and while most of its stores were located in Northern England until just over a decade ago it has now expanded into the capital as well.
Walking inside the Morrisons Colindale store feels like strolling among the stalls of a traditional neighbourhood market, moving freely between the various retail points, even though it is housed inside a big shopping centre. The architectural feature that has contributed most to this original urban style is the wall covering in Bristol glazed red porcelain tiles from the Brick Generation collection manufactured by Ceramica Rondine, which faithfully reproduce London’s typical brick facades but have the technical qualities of resistance, durability and easy maintenance provided by ceramic materials. Bristol tiles have been used to decorate the public area (lobby and lift facade) and food area (where the assisted bakery, fresh fish and butchery counters are located). The particular technique employed in its production reproduces very effectively not only the shades and nuances of red brick but also its distinctive rough texture. Although the product is available in a wide range of sizes and shades, the designers have chosen to use the standard 6×25 cm format to create a vintage atmosphere that blends perfectly well with the post-industrial setting of the shopping centre and doesn’t clash with the glass and steel elements of its external structure. This original formula softens the aesthetic impact usually produced by large suburban supermarkets.
The internal layout is also based on a modern design concept, with seamlessly connected spaces and no clear divisions based on the type of goods sold. This enables shoppers to move freely from one retail point to another without having to walk in and out of stores as they would normally have to do. The choice of Bristol brick has been key in this respect, too, since its aesthetic appearance inspired by exterior wall surfaces has made it easier to achieve uniformity between the retail points and the public areas.
The architects used Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the project realization. This technology, which is still not very widely employed in Italy, uses a software-based digital process that enables the building’s physical characteristics to be visualized, thereby optimizing planning and leveraging the facility’s full structural potential.

Ceramica Rondine, Bristol
porcelain stoneware
6x25 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,3
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA-GHA-GLA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 5
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 46,35
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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