Starbucks Asia showcases local art
Art is playing a major role in the store design of Starbucks Asia.
Michael Izon, director of store design in Starbucks China/Asia Pacific region, says his team works with artists, who work in a variety of mediums, to enhance stores in the Philippines and Thailand.
“Sometimes we seek the help of companies that represent local artists, while other times we find artists by chance. We once discovered an artist’s work while walking the streets of Hong Kong and asked to commission his work for one of our stores,” Izon said.
Decisions about artwork occur at the beginning of the store design process.
“We call our process holistic store design because we don’t want elements like artwork to look additive, we want them integrated in the overall design and become a natural part of the store,” said Izon.
He added, art in Starbucks stores should be visually pleasing, but also informative in telling the brand’s story.
One of the artists whom Starbucks was worked with is Ella Hipolito. Known for using coffee grounds to create realistic paintings, Hipolito has created artwork for Starbucks Philippines, including one for the S’Maison Starbucks in Pasay City.
“We wanted to highlight the work that takes place on Philippine coffee farms. Ella created a huge landscape painting on one of the walls in the store that depicts farmers harvesting coffee cherries,” Izon said.
In Thailand, as customers enter the Gaysorn Starbucks in Bangkok, they encounter a mural that represents Starbucks’ travel around the world to source coffee. The mural was created in partnership with Jeentee Baiposuwan, a local artist and graduate of Silapakorn University.
“Jeentee is a traditional Thai painter and used this style to develop a wonderful piece depicting the Starbucks Siren and the beginning of the Starbucks coffee journey,” said Izon.
Smaller landscape paintings featured throughout the store share the story of single origin coffees and farmers.
“Gaysorn is a premium mall, so the store has a luxurious look to it and the artwork reflects that as well,” added Izon.
When Izon and team received the design brief for the Siam Discovery store in Bangkok, the vision was to showcase Starbucks global social responsibility efforts in addition to highlighting coffee.
In the seating area of the store is Jeentee Baiposuwan’s large wire-art installation depicting 12 of Starbucks social impact initiatives.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction knowing that what we design on paper for several months, will engage customers for many years,” said Izon.