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Q&A w/ Landini Associates

Landini Associates logo; Design and Brand Consultants

Landini Associates have been reinventing normal since the firm was established by Mark and Rikki Landini in 1993. Working primarily in the retail and hospitality space the Surry Hills based firm are a collective of designers and strategic thinkers from around the world.

Having been recognised globally for their work with clients such as McDonald’s, David Jones and The Kitchens, we just had to sit down with Mark to find out just what keeps them inspired, dream clients and what is on the horizon for Landini.

 

Mark Landini, Creative Director for Landini Associates, in the thinking man pose with a cup of coffee against a wooden background

Mark Landini, Creative Director (Landini Associates)
Photographed by Michele Aboud

 

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Simply working, and working simply. That’s it really. We have a lovely team, and some clever clients who pay us to have fun. Brilliant.

 

YOUR DESIGN FOR MCDONALD’S SYDNEY AIRPORT HAS BEEN RECOGNISED GLOBALLY. WHAT WAS THE BRIEF FROM MCDONALD’S THAT SPARKED THIS INCREDIBLE CONCEPT?

The brief was to create something iconic at the airport, based on our concept for McDonalds that we have implemented globally; called Ray. Part of our design has been to increase the visibility of the food production heart of a McDonald’s restaurant. From the first site that we designed we have put this upfront; in part because we love seeing the engine room of food production, but also because customers do too.

Modern designed McDonald's at Sydney International Airport, with an open kitchen and serving area

McDonald’s, Sydney International Airport | Designed by Landini Associates
Photographed by Trevor Mein

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO EMERGING DESIGNERS?

Be bold, be brave, and if you can’t, just make sure you’re not boring.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENT OF OUR MOST RECENT PROJECT TOGETHER, SARAH & SEBASTIAN?

Our favourite thing about this project was the bravery that our clients had in trusting our design concept and allowing us to do something more interesting than that what you might expect from a jewellery store. We reinvented the vernacular.

Sarah & Sebastian at Surry Hills, modern and open window design photographed at night Sarah & Sebastian, Surry Hills | Designed by Landini Associates + Built by Unita
Photographed by Ross Honeysett

 

HOW HAS THE SHIFT TOWARDS EXPERIENTIAL RETAIL AFFECTED YOUR APPROACH TO RETAIL DESIGN?

It hasn’t because design is and always has been about creating an experience, so for us all the talk of “experiential design” is just that, talk. We are suspicious of anyone who calls themselves an experiential designer – as if the Sistine Chapel isn’t an experience and as if what Mr Selfridge did 100 years ago wasn’t an experience. How did we survive all these years without experiential designers?

Our approach to retail design is as it always has been; throughout all our projects we strive to “Reinvent Normal”. This is a process by which everything is challenged, broken down and if needs be discarded. What results is the reinvention of the vernacular of any category that we are working in.

None of this is relevant if it doesn’t work commercially but we have found that it does. Challenge the norm, invent something new and memorable and you’ve “Reinvented Normal”. And remember, above all else, that you need to be brave. Not being brave is just being stupid.

 

WHAT ARE SOME KEY FACTORS AN ARCHITECT/DESIGNER LOOKS FOR IN A BUILDER WHEN COLLABORATING ON A PROJECT?

PRECISION, absolute attention to detail, and sticking to timelines.

 

NAME YOUR DREAM CLIENT OR COLLABORATION?

We would love to design a boutique hotel. We spend so much time travelling the planet to visit our clients that we have some strong opinions!

 

SO, WHAT’S NEXT FOR LANDINI ASSOCIATES?

At the moment our design for McDonald’s is rolling out globally, our designs for Aldi and Glassons continue to roll our across Australia and NZ, and we are working on a number of really exciting projects in Italy, France, the US and the UK.
Stay tuned!

 

Want to collaborate on an upcoming project? We’d love to hear from you! 

 

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