The LCBO—Liquor Control Board of Ontario—may be a provincial government enterprise, but it is also synonymous with social joy. Its new stores are an inclusive place for authentic engagements: to stop by before heading to a gathering, to meet friends, to try and learn about diverse products, and to imagine new possibilities for entertaining guests. As one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of alcoholic beverages, the LCBO brand promises quality, craftsmanship, and convenience.
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Silver 🏆 Winner
International Interior Design Awards 2022 (IIDA 2022)
LCBO Queens Quay
II BY IV DESIGN
Keith Rushbrook, Dan Menchions
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
©II BY IV DESIGN
The design strategy for the new stores has been informed by its context and demographics with a common thread of being decidedly customer-centric. It turns each location into a retail theatre. For LCBO’s official flagship store, the curated customer journey takes place in a double-height single-floor layout with over 4,000 local and international products. This 24,000 square feet waterfront store conveniently anchors the building that houses the new LCBO headquarters in the growing Sugar Wharf neighbourhood of Toronto’s lake-side downtown.
Working closely with the client, the design team created an immersive atmosphere that elevates the shopping experience through innovation. Located a block east of the former flagship store, the new one is intentionally designed to theatrically present an array of quality products. It provides a seamless shopping experience where the customers discover and enjoy the LCBO perks: a run-way for Vintages, two tasting hubs, two same-day pickup service desks with a three-hour order turnaround, a generous walk-in cold room, innovative digital kiosks, and educational opportunities throughout the year. The high-contrast materials and finishes frame the products to be center stage. Fabricated shipping crates suspended from the ceiling relate to the nearby Lake Ontario, while other design elements include references to the process of making the products, such as recycled wine barrels, beer kegs with pulls, and old wooden shipping crates with LCBO stamps. In addition to traditional retail down-lights, drum-shaped and barcode-like pendants cast an intimate feel. Custom-made bleached oak shelving systems throughout the store with recessed lighting and crafted dark bronze details present the products distinctively. At the same time, whimsical interior wayfinding signage, interactive high-tech screens, and chalkboard-like graphics lead the customers to their perfect choice.
At the end of this retail journey, the check-out stations bring the customers back to the light-filled front of the store for security reasons, where they are sent off on their way to socialize with friends and family.