Two years ago, Starbucks’ branch in Al Seef, Dubai captivated the internet with its contextual design. Located in the oldest part of Dubai, the renowned coffee outlet boasts a thatched roof, mud-like exterior finishes, traditional screens, and wooden furniture, all of which retain the picturesque charm of the landscape. The design not only garnered immense attention on social media but also attracted curious customers to the store. Effortlessly blending in with its regional context, the Al Seef branch has become an integral part of the locality. The store is one of Starbucks’ many efforts at regionalizing its international outlets to create authentic connections with customers. In an era where consumers crave meaningful connections, regionalism in retail design emerges as a powerful design strategy.

As part of their larger business approach, Starbucks tailor designs their outlets to reflect the local culture and context. The brand’s current mission is to create “sustainably designed, locally relevant stores that inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” The approach can be seen in their store in Kyoto, Japan as well, where traditional Japanese design elements such as wooden lattice screens and paper lanterns have been incorporated, creating a harmonious blend of modernity and tradition.

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