October 16, 2019
Milk Train’s first brick-and-mortar outpost in London’s Covent Garden is a dreamy, Instagram-worthy ice cream shop that unites timeless train station imagery with an immersive brand experience. Known for its cotton candy ice cream (said to mimic train steam), Milk Train needed to satisfy its loyal social media following by translating its brand ethos into a space that’s as playful as it is pretty. “The [café] nods to the Art Deco movement,” says David Roberts, managing director of local design firm FormRoom, “while traditional train station and platform-style iconography are referenced within the interior.” This includes signage that recalls split-flap displays and a play on the London Underground’s iconic Mind the Gap phrase changed to Mind the Melt. Beneath a ceiling installation that depicts steam billowing out from a locomotive, black metal arches with hanging globe lighting are another subtle interpretation of the train theme.
Along with a soothing color palette, a sophisticated blend of stainless steel and terrazzo define Changzhou-based C.F. Café, designed by Shanghai-based Dongqi Architects. “Together, the materials show a mixed character of modernity and tradition,” says founder and design director Jiang Nan. Three curved bars house a bakery, coffee bar, and juice bar—each topped in steel that flows into smooth terrazzo—encouraging “people to move through different areas like roaming inside an open market for an active, dynamic, and pleasing atmosphere,” says Nan. That motif continues to the concave ceiling above each bar, which takes C.F. Café to celestial heights.
When his Shanghai-based firm KCA was commissioned to design this DIY bakery, Yakafu, in Anji, China, firm founder Kostas Chatzigiannis asked himself, “How can I make a bakery a fun place?” The quirky and unexpected result spans two floors with a sculptural staircase in blue terrazzo as a centerpiece. “Creating an unconventional bakery was my impulse,” he says, noting the scattered blocks that function as seating on the first floor, where light terrazzo makes up the bakery’s bar, service counter, and display area. Upstairs, past the staircase’s graphic backdrop in perforated metal panels in yellow and blue, the DIY section—awash in white, blue, and steel—encourages visitors to learn how to make the baked goods themselves.
Long Island City, New York
For the Long Island City, New York outpost of the cult favorite cookie shop, Chip, New York-based studio the New Design Project evolved the brand’s minimal and modern look with a bright and airy sensibility. “This was also a slight nod to the [nearby] Noguchi Museum,” says Fanny Abbes, creative director at the firm. Staggered arches on the wall are inspired by Chip’s cloud-like logo, while color and material choices, including pale wood, white marble with subtle brown veining, and an autumnal orange “recreate the feeling you have when enjoying a Chip cookie,” she says.
Local interior designer Alena Bulataya’s modern take on the Minsk, Belarus location of Brioche, the third in the chain of premium French patisseries, is a playful interpretation of the bakery’s delicious fare. “The interior boasts a variety of details, textures, and colors,” says Bulataya. Among them is speckled terrazzo, which flows from the floor to the counter and up one wall in the compact 430-square-foot space. But the centerpiece is the art installation on the ceiling. The textured, rippling arrangement is made of 2,000 petal-like textile pieces with a “color palette that is inspired by shades of cakes and pastries,” she says.
Photography by Paul Lewis, Qingshan Wu, Anne-Sophie Heist, Will Ellis, and Alexander Markov
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