minimalist grocer Natoora opens in Fulham
‘Radically seasonal’ grocery retailer Natoora has officially opened its produce store on Fulham Road in London. The brand was established as a supplier to restaurants and chefs in the capital.
(Author : Matthew Valentine)
The store features a terraced, geology-inspired design that hints to the soil that produce has been grown in. It aims to restore the value of farming, and to put it on a par with other forms of craftsmanship.
Argentinian architect Noé Golomb collaborated with London cabinet makers Finch – which has previously worked on stores for Aesop – to create the store. The 50 sq m (538 sq ft) also features lights from PS Lab.
The store consciously departs from the format used for the fresh produce aisles of supermarkets. Concrete displays are layered on top of one another at intersecting angles, and standard product categories have been abandoned. Instead, produce is merchandised according to seasonal windows. Early season produce is at the front of the store, while at the rear there is a fermentation and preserving room in a cellar-like space created by bulkheads. Produce is displayed loose, rather than in plastic.
Common display cues such as hessian sacks and wooden crates are avoided in favour of a minimal design. Just two materials feature in the interior: warm-toned grey cement and Foresso Charcoal Mono timber terrazzo supplied by Solomon & Wu, the latter being used through the counter, oversized chopping boards and record player unit.
The entire interior is a chilled environment that creates ideal conditions for unwaxed fruit and leafy vegetables. Stainless steel misting guns – sourced from the US – are positioned through the store so staff can are individually for each product.
The store also showcases products from independent suppliers, such as milk from The Estate Dairy and British rapeseed oil from Duchess Farms. Ceramics used in the store are handmade by Fefo Studio in New York, and are available to buy.
“We seek out responsible growers who are committed to their craft in the face of industrial monoculture. Many of our growers are true artists who work tirelessly to keep unique seed varieties, traditional growing techniques and bold flavours alive even if they go unrecognised,” says Natoora founder and CEO Franco Fubini.
“The thought and care that has gone into the design of our store is just the beginning of a food system revolution that needs to happen before it is too late. Now more than ever, seeking out flavour and seasonality in produce is paramount – not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of our cultural heritage. We need to start seeing farming in terms of craftsmanship,” adds Fubini.