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The passion of Brazil

By Tammy Mastroberte
January 09, 2013

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Photo: Durvile Cavalcanti, Sao Paulo
With the World Cup heading to Brazil in 2014, there has never been a better time to be a soccer fan in South America’s largest country. Sao Paulo-based sporting goods manufacturer Penalty is taking advantage of this fútbol fervor by creating retail stores in the eight cities set to host games in the country. The first of these stores opened in December at Parque Dom Pedro Shopping, a mall in the city of Campinas. The stores feature the Penalty name and logo, and offer a variety of product, including footwear, sporting apparel and premium soccer balls.

Working with consulting company GS&MD and design firm FAL, Penalty aimed to emphasize the passion of Brazilian fútbol, known in America as soccer, while highlighting the brand as the leader in Brazil—allowing it to stand out from international competitors, such as Nike and Puma. The company also wanted a unique and fun environment, incorporating what is known in Brazil as “ginga,” according to Manoel Alves Lima, director at FAL. “Ginga is a word that refers to the Brazilian flair of playing soccer,” he explains. “It’s about being very loose and easy, and this is how we play soccer in Brazil. We say the European game is based on strategy, but the Brazilian way is more fun and more relaxed.”

The main focal point of the more than 2,000-sq.-ft. store is a tall, circular ball display, also based on the concept of ginga. Constructed of a round wall made with Plexiglas and acrylic, the display sits in the middle of the store to showcase the soccer balls as if they were suspended in air.

“The ball is always floating in a soccer game, and we created this movement in the store with the display,” Lima explains. “The round wall is divided in two, so there are soccer balls on the outside and inside, and because it is transparent, it looks like a spiral that swirls around. Every 3 minutes, a buzzer goes off in the store and a soccer ball drops into a white cup.”

The overall design goal was to create the feel of a soccer arena, reflected throughout the store from the graphics of cheering fans on the walls to the checkout counter with a soccer net motif. The color scheme and design are modeled after the Penalty logo, which is green and white. “The green also reflects the grass on a soccer field,” Lima notes. “Also, the logo is rounded, so we feature many rounded corners in the design, which also goes back to the movement of playing soccer.”

To create curves throughout the space, the designers chose materials such as vinyl flooring and a gypsum ceiling, and the store layout itself allows for a free-flow wave of traffic, Lima describes. The perimeter walls are flexible and modular, so they can be moved and changed along with new products. To ensure even light at a low cost, there are LED lights throughout, as well as CDM (ceramic discharge metal) window lights and fluorescent bulbs in cove areas.

“With the upcoming events, Penalty will be sponsoring players, and the company plans to bring them into the store to sign soccer balls and jerseys, so the store had to be flexible with the ability to diminish the number of fixtures inside so it could accommodate the crowds of fans,” Lima explains.

Many of these sponsored players can be seen throughout the store in wooden frames on both the walls and shelving, and also advertise new lines of product. These images can be changed, and the frames are also moveable, Lima says. Player images also are used as graphics for the fitting rooms and walls.

Heading toward the back of the store, the cashwrap features a soccer net design on the face of the counter, and a wooden wall in the back highlighted by circular cutouts and the Penalty logo.

This area also is home to one of the unique offerings in the store—a touchscreen monitor for customers to customize products, including jerseys and shoes. Social soccer enthusiasts and smaller teams can customize their jerseys on the computer, as well as assemble their team logo, design shoes and interact with the monitor to take pictures. They can even send pictures to Facebook and share with friends.

Plans call for eight Penalty stores by 2014, in time for the World Cup games. With its relaxed vibe, tournament-exclusive events and custom product offering, the store is sure to please the fútbol fans headed to the host cities.