Natoora’s new London grocery store is the Aesop of vegetables
Natoora, supplier of fruit and vegetables to the influential chefs of London, has opened a new fresh produce store on Fulham Road. CEO and founder Franco Fubini tapped the expertise of Argentinian architect Noé Golomb and London-based cabinet-maker FincH (whose previous work includes fit-outs for five Aesop stores). Here, they broke from traditional grocery shop stylings with a geometry-fuelled food-stop, filled with compass-clean angles and tones of concrete.
‘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’s too late,’ Fubini explains of Natoora’s environmentally-conscious commitment to working with responsible growers, who are dedicated to their craft in the face of what he refers to as ‘industrial monoculture’. ‘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.’
As well as supplying fresh produce to 1000 of the best restaurants in the world (and now the residents of Chelsea), Natoora’s big-picture mission is to revolutionise the food system, building a transparent supply chain that respects the real seasonality of produce; the phrase ‘radical seasonality’ is stenciled across the wall of the store, alongside a product origin locator map.
Central to this outlook is to ‘celebrate the artistry of the growers behind the fruit and vegetables’, Fubini believes. Natoora is careful to angle the spotlight of its influential platform onto a rotation of makers. Small batch milk from The Estate Dairy is currently showcased in store, alongside Duchess Farms’ raw British rapeseed oil. Specially commissioned ceramics used throughout – handmade by Fernando Aciar of New York’s Fefo Studio – are also available to buy. A selection of Blenheim Forge knives are displayed behind glass; made entirely by hand in Peckham, using British steel in the Japanese technique demanding 30 hours of labour.
With its terraced displays, angled bulkheads and PS Lab tube lights, the store design treats each root, fruit and shoot as if it’s a precious, hard-won work of art straight from the furrowed studio of the fields. A significant departure from plastic-reliant supermarket aisles, the concept finds root in the soil. Concrete displays are layered on top of each other at intersecting angles, subtly echoing the geological strata that the produce started life in. Gone too, are the hessian sacks and apple pyramids of twee greengrocers past. These are seriously grown up groceries, with a message to match. §