McDonald’s is in the midst of a worldwide design transformation with support by Landini Associates, the Australia-based design firm are executing the rollout and creating its Global Flagship model, dubbed “Project Ray.”
The latest locations to debut as part of the restaurant leader’s reinvention are an elegant, café-style eatery in São Paulo set to open this summer, as well as a sleek, glass-walled location in Brisbane, Australia, that just celebrated its ribbon-cutting last month.
As is typical for Landini Associates, the highly creative firm completely reinvents how McDonald’s looks, feels and works. Everything from master-planning, architecture and interior design to brand positioning, graphics, packaging and uniforms are brand new, meeting Landini’s global design standards and guidelines that “make McDonald’s cool again.”
Following a spree of high-profile commissions by Landini Associates in London’s Oxford Street, New York’s Times Square, Moscow’s Pushkin Square and Hong Kong’s Admiralty Station — among others — the two brand-new locations in Brazil and Australia show how the new McDonald’s design palette can transform their restaurants in every context, from shopping centres to freestanding locations.
Brisbane’s South Bank project, a premier lifestyle destination, reveals a new McDonald’s that attracts the eye from the ground-level pedestrian plaza in the casual dining and fresh food shopping complex Southpoint. A glowing yellow enclosure, visible from every approach, wraps the ordering counter and posted menus, surrounded by subtle furnishings and calmer, more classic finishes: exposed concrete, glass, stainless steel and oak offer a backdrop of recognizable neutrality promoting the service, product, and people who come to enjoy it. Mix these ingredients one way to tell an urban story, then another to localize it.
“Now it’s time to be quiet and let the food and services do the talking,” says Mark Landini, the firm’s creative director. “The Project Ray locations promote the people who come to enjoy the experience, too, emphasizing simplicity and designed to be quiet places of respite from the noise of today’s urban life.”
Similarly, in São Paulo the elegant-feeling new restaurant sits within an iconic former bank building on Paulista Avenue, one of the city’s most important thoroughfares – and lures in customers with the same minimal sensibility, sophisticated linear pendants, and bare wood and concrete surfaces. Large glass walls overlook the building’s multistory atrium, creating drama and visibility but with unusually restrained graphics and signage — just big, inviting and transparent openings.
“While energetic environments have been the signature for McDonald’s, now customers enjoy the simpler, calmer graphics and even the staff uniforms, which have an appeal outside of the restaurants,” says Ben Goss, associate director of Graphics for Landini Associates. “The global rollout is one vision talking — a holistic toolkit of parts that can be finetuned by location and, we believe, will ultimately stand the test of time.”