An Italian culinary oasis in Elephant & Castle


We recently explored the new Mercato Metropolitano Italian food market in Elephant & Castle. As well as being awash with hip-ness, the space is an ode to design loveliness. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover some real design gems that aren’t even aware of how cool they are.

Here are our top five unsung design details (see numbered photos to the left):

1. This ‘we love fruits’ poster of illustrated fruits is simple, but it does so much: it acts as a product list for the fruit section, it adds some colour to the store, and it makes the brand seem down-to-earth and uncomplicated. The best bit? All that creative white space that a client hasn’t said needs filling!

2. This small alcove, containing a sink and a few glasses, subtly informs customers that this is an interactive environment, somewhere to try before they buy. Best “lo-fi interactive” award right here.

3. We love the way that Mercato Metropolitano is creating an almost tongue-in-cheek lifestyle around the brand, as shown in this poster. And if you have any passion for mid-sixties advertising character illustration, then you’ll love the visual referencing of the little guy below to it. Check out Dick Bruna’s 60’s/ 70’s advertising drawings for a start.

4. Even modern plastic crates look good. Effective merchandising isn’t about always sourcing vintage tea crates and paying through the nose for them. These ordinary crates are striking against the industrial backdrop of this space.

5. They say that seeing is believing – so why not show customers something being made, such as coffee being roasted, here. This roaster looks like its been banged together in the shed of  a genius inventor. They also say that such initiatives help build trust with customers… Well, the customer writing this blog wants a coffee from here!


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