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    Samsøe Samsøe’s Paris pop-up gallery is a “blank canvas” decorated with clothing artworks

    Danish fashion brand Samsøe Samsøe has launched a pop-up gallery for Paris Fashion Week that features an all-white interior decorated with artwork and furniture made from the brand’s T-shirts.

    The exhibition space was designed to have a pared-down feel in a nod to the brand’s Basic collection, which is launching during the fashion week in the French capital.
    Samsøe Samsøe’s in-house design team created the gallery together with set designer Fatima Fransson to be a “blank canvas” and bring the brand’s vision of “Scandinavian simplicity” to life.
    The minimalist pop-up is located in Paris’ Le Marais area”The overall design is inspired by the way in which our Basic collection is structured,” Samsøe Samsøe art director Jelena Fijan told Dezeen.
    “We took the timeless, long-lasting approach of the product to be central at the space, which gives it a contemporary art gallery feel,” she added.

    “[We wanted] to create a welcoming but abstract feeling for the visitor.”
    It features a central counter covered in white T-shirtsThe resulting space, located in Paris’s Le Marais neighbourhood, has a stark all-white interior punctuated by a central counter partly made from the brand’s clothes.
    “By creating a high-block bar, the installation functions both as an art piece and as a community table for people to connect and talk,” Fijan said.

    Halleroed references Swedish Grace and Carlo Scarpa for Toteme flagship store

    “As this is the central piece in the space, we left some room for the brain to work, and we wanted to create a minimalist and long-lasting feel,” she added.
    The block was made from plywood and epoxy resin, which was then covered in reclaimed T-shirts worn by the Samsøe Samsøe team.
    Grey jumpers were turned into artworks on a concrete backgroundThe space also features artworks made from cashmere knits that were placed in plywood forms layered with a concrete-mixed plaster.
    After Paris Fashion Week ends, the set will be moved to the brand’s headquarters in Copenhagen.
    The space was designed to reference Samsøe Samsøe’s “Scandinavian minimalism”Other fashion stores with a minimalist interior include Swedish brand Toteme’s flagship London store, designed by Halleroed, and Balenciaga’s concrete Berlin store, which references the city’s modernist architecture.
    The photography is courtesy of Samsøe Samsøe.
    The Samsøe Samsøe gallery is located on 16 Rue Caffarelli, 75003 Paris, and will be open 28 February to 3 March. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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    Bench Architecture tops Brooklyn brewery with tile-lined pizzeria

    Local architecture studio Bench Architecture has topped a Brooklyn brewery with a pizzeria and bar outfitted in a “colourfully tactile palette” including a wall of aqua-blue tile.

    In East Williamsburg, Lala’s Brooklyn Apizza shop is located above the Grimm Artisanal Ales brewery – a converted automobile shop that opened in 2018 and was also designed by Brooklyn-based Bench Architecture.
    Local studio Bench Architecture has topped a brewery with a pizzeria in BrooklynThe second-floor pizzeria consists of a large open space flanked on either side by a pizza kitchen and terracotta-clad bar, while a series of bi-fold doors lead out onto a rooftop terrace.
    “A colourfully tactile palette was used to frame two poles of the space,” the studio said.
    The space sits on top of a converted autobody shop The space sits on top of a converted autobody shop
    At one end of the interior space, a pizza oven is surrounded by light green Portuguese tile, while a white mosaic tile was used to clad the oven itself.  A bar counter topped with moonstone and wrapped in corrugated wood frames the oven, with a small service window lined with the same moonstone placed to the side.

    Across the space, a service bar was wrapped in fluted terracotta tiles and topped with a dark grey Mexican Cantera stone counter.
    The studio organized the interior into “nodes”A wall of aqua-blue concrete tile sits behind the bar, extending along the space and outside onto the terrace.
    Magenta-pink curtains line the back wall and a wood-slatted ceiling connects these two bars, which the studio refers to as “nodes”. The two countertops were designed to have contrasting materiality.
    Wood and terracotta-clad bar counters on either end of a dining space”These ‘rough’ and ‘polished’ nodes are unified by a curved wood-slat ceiling and magenta curtain which accent primary surfaces as well as soften the acoustics of the space,” said the studio.
    An angled mirror was placed above the curtain and spans its width to visually connect the interior space to the terrace, according to the studio.

    Six pizzerias that feature unusual interiors

    Outside, the terrace is flanked on both sides by walls of light pink and blue tile, with a Cantera stone floor covering the entirety of the space.
    Simple wooden picnic tables populate both the interior dining area and outdoor space, with shelving and a rack of firewood dispersed around them.
    Colourful tile was used to line the interior and exterior wallsBench Architecture expanded upon similar themes it used for the brewery and taproom on the ground floor below, which opened in 2018.
    Similar red-hued curtains line the space and a corrugated metal-clad bar was placed along the building’s front windows to provide space for brewery production.
    The space opens onto a terrace through a series of bi-fold glass doorsA series of pendants hang from the ceiling, which marks an original mezzanine design for the space.
    “A grid of hanging pendant lights create a ‘ceiling’ to the space, which outlines the extent of the original mezzanine design for the room, which was superseded by the rooftop extension,” said the studio.
    Bench Architecture is a Brooklyn-based architecture studio founded by David Bench in 2020 that specializes in residential, retail and event spaces.
    Other interior projects recently completed in the Williamsburg area include a residential loft that doubles as a performance space and a Kith store featuring a brick silo at its centre.
    The photography is by Nicholas Venezia
    Project credits:
    Architecture and interiors: Bench ArchitectureConstruction manager: Bench ArchitectureMEP: ABS EngineeringStructural: Becker

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    Ten highlights from Design Doha exhibition Arab Design Now

    A disaster-proof chandelier from Lebanon and a towering sand dune-style stone installation feature in Arab Design Now, the main exhibition at the inaugural Design Doha biennial.

    Arab Design Now was curated by Rana Beiruti to capture the spirit of contemporary design across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the curator told Dezeen ahead of the opening of the first Design Doha.
    Set within the Qatari capital’s M7 building, the design biennial draws together a range of collectible design and installations.
    Selected works from 74 participants paid homage to the MENA region’s “extremely harsh and unique geography” and investigated the “use of materials as a guiding principle,” explained Beiruti.
    Here are 10 of Dezeen’s highlights from Arab Design Now, which is on display in Doha until early August.

    Sites – New Sites by Studio Anne Holtrop
    Bahrain- and Amsterdam-based architect Anne Holtrop has designed a cluster of large-scale mobiles made from vast slabs of lumpy resin.
    Holtrop took casts of a series of manmade and natural sites that he found across Qatar to create the textured pieces, which hang from bearing mechanisms and can be manually rotated by visitors to produce continuously moving formations.

    Constellations 2.0: Object. Light. Consciousness by Abeer Seikaly
    Over 5,000 pieces of Murano glass were woven together by Jordanian-Palestinian designer Abeer Seikaly to create this chandelier, which combines Bedouin weaving practices from Jordan with traditional Venetian glassmaking techniques.
    Brass and stainless steel were also integrated into the lighting, made flexible by the glass mesh.
    Once illuminated, the sculptural piece creates dramatic light patterns that nod to a starry night sky seen from the Badia desert, according to Seikaly.

    House Between a Jujube Tree and a Palm Tree by Civil Architecture
    Kuwait and Bahrain-based office Civil Architecture has designed a looming fibreglass roof proposal for a majlis – the traditional term for an Arabic gathering space.
    “It’s a 1:1 model of a roof of an actual house that we designed in Bahrain,” studio co-founder Hamed Bukhamseen told Deezen.
    Supported by steel and suspended from tension cables, the majlis features openings designed to accommodate tall trees and was created to explore the “symbiotic but blurred” relationship between indoor and outdoor settings.
    Photo courtesy of Design DohaNubia, Hathor and Gros Guillaume Stool by Omar Chakil
    French-Egyptian-Lebanese designer Omar Chakil was informed by his father’s homeland of Egypt when he chose alabaster onyx to create this monolithic shelving, a bulbous coffee table and a stool that glides across the floor on wheels.
    Taking cues from ancient practices, Chakil carved the rounded furniture from raw blocks of the material, which was sanded down over time using water rather than covered in varnish – something that the designer said had became common in Egypt, especially when making “cheap” souvenirs.
    “The whole idea of the collection was to use Egyptian alabaster, which was a healing stone,” Chakil told Dezeen.
    “The pharaohs used [the material], then it transformed it over time. It lost its soul. So I tried to put it in the contemporary context by using the shapes that healing emotions would take – so they are round and soft, even though they are very heavy,” he added.
    “I see that people are afraid to, but I want them to touch the furniture.”

    Tiamat by AAU Anastas
    Palestinian architecture office AAU Anastas is presenting Tiamat, a dune-shaped installation that forms part of the studio’s ongoing project, Stone Matters, which explores the potential of combining historical stone building techniques with modern technologies to encourage the use of structural stone.
    Positioned for visitors to walk through, the installation is a towering structure made of stone sourced from Bethlehem and informed by the Gothic-style architecture found across Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
    According to AAU Anastas, the light, sound reverberations and climate control within Tiamat’s internal space is unique to stone construction.

    Clay in Context by Sama El Saket
    Jordan-born architect and ceramicist Sama El Saket took cues from her native landscape when creating this “taxonomy of Jordanian clays”.
    The result is a set of spindle bottle-style vessels, each made of a different natural clay found across Jordan. This gives the pieces their distinctive colours, textures and character.
    “These are all natural clays with no pigments added,” El Saket told Dezeen. “The colours are attributed to the different minerals that are found within the region. Some are sandier, some are rockier.”
    The designer noted that while Jordan features an abundance of clay deposits and a rich history of ceramic production, today most Jordanian clay is imported.
    Photo by Sabine SaadehLight Impact by Fabraca Studios
    Lebanese industrial design brand Fabraca Studios has created Light Impact, a solid aluminium lighting fixture that was designed as an alternative chandelier, resembling durable ropes.
    The piece was made to replace a glass chandelier that shattered in the aftermath of the 2020 Beiruit explosion, which destroyed a large part of Lebanon’s capital city.
    Light Impact is defined by “flexible characteristics designed to withstand another disaster,” studio founder Samer Saadeh told Dezeen. He added that the piece, which includes internal brass components, was designed as an ode to Beirut’s adaptability and resilience.

    Eleven by Sahel Alhiyari
    Eleven is a cluster of tall fluted terracotta columns by Jordanian architect Sahel Alhiyari that were made through moulding and forming rather than traditional cutting and carving.
    The architect handcrafted the segments, which are vertically stacked, using a similar technique to pottery-making,
    “As you twist and turn the material, it creates all of this stuff,” Alhiyari told Dezeen. The designer explained that the columns were deliberately created to celebrate imperfections, despite referencing classical architecture.

    Sediments by Talin Hazbar
    UAE-based Syrian designer Talin Hazbar is featuring her Sediments project, which previously gained recognition at Dubai Design Week.
    The work consists of blocky seating made from fishing ropes and fishing cage ropes extracted from the Persian Gulf with the assistance of the Dubai Voluntary Diving Team.
    Also made up of recycled rubber grains, the heavily textured seating was created to serve as a reminder of how we might attempt to clean up damaged coastlines, according to Hazbar.

    Whispers from the Deep by T Sakhi
    Lebanese-Polish sisters Tessa and Tara El Sakhi of the studio T Sakhi combined discarded metal salvaged from factories in Veneto, Italy, with Murano glass to create amorphous glassware that takes cues from underwater sea creatures.
    These pieces were arranged atop dramatic shelving inside the elevator connecting the first and second floors of the Arab Design Now exhibition.
    The result is a playful installation that draws together the Venetian lagoon and Lebanese glassblowing traditions.
    The photography is by Edmund Sumner unless stated otherwise.
    Arab Design Now takes place at Design Doha from 24 to 5 August 2024 in Doha, Qatar. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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    Get listed in Dezeen’s digital guide for NYCxDesign 2024

    If you’re hosting an event during NYCxDesign, you can get listed in Dezeen Events Guide’s digital guide to the festival, which highlights the key events taking place across New York City’s five boroughs.

    NYCxDesign runs from 16 to 23 May 2024 and features hundreds of events including installations, exhibitions, fairs, tours, open studios and product launches.
    One of the largest events taking place during the eight-day programme is the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and WantedDesign Manhattan, located at the Javits Center from 19 to 21 May 2024. Each year the fair sees 10,000 visitors from the architecture, design and retail fields.
    With 2024 marking the festival’s 12th anniversary, NYCxDesign aims for its events to target themes of sustainability, inclusivity and diversity while exploring a range of design mediums.
    Get listed in Dezeen’s digital NYCxDesign guide

    Get in touch with the Dezeen Events Guide team at [email protected] to book your listing or to discuss a wider partnership with Dezeen.
    There are three types of listing available:
    Standard listings cost £125 ($160) and include the event name, date and location details plus a website link. These listings will feature up to 50 words of text about the event.
    Enhanced listings cost £175 ($225) and include all of the above plus an image at the top of the listing’s page and a preview image on the Dezeen Events Guide homepage. These listings will also feature up to 100 words of text about the event.
    Featured listings cost £350 ($450) and include the elements of an enhanced listing plus a post on Dezeen’s Threads channel, inclusion in the featured events carousel on the right hand of the homepage for up to two weeks and 150 words of text about the event. This text can include commercial information such as ticket prices and offers and can feature additional links to website pages such as ticket sales and newsletter signups.
    For more details about partnering with us to help amplify your event, contact the team at [email protected].
    About Dezeen Events Guide
    Dezeen Events Guide is our guide to the best architecture and design events taking place across the world each year.
    The guide is updated weekly and includes events, conferences, trade fairs, major exhibitions and design weeks.
    The illustration is by Justyna Green.

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    ORA creates modern home in 500-year-old Czech Renaissance building

    Czech architecture studio ORA has renovated a Renaissance-era house in the town of Český Krumlov, preserving original features like its carved wooden beams while adding free-standing contemporary furniture.

    Local entrepreneurs Petra Hanáková and Radek Techlovský purchased the dilapidated house in the town centre in 2016 and asked ORA to oversee a modernisation process that retains the interior’s historical character.
    Masná 130 is a renovated home by ORA in Český KrumlovThe 500-year-old building, now called Masná 130, had been neglected for decades and was not even connected to the town’s sewage system. It also had flood-damaged foundations and a roof in need of major repairs.
    Despite its issues, the owners saw potential in the property and spent two years transforming its ground floor into a cafe that has become a gathering place for the local community.
    The architects added bespoke furniture made from dark-stained birch plywoodThe latest phase of the project involved renovating the first-floor living spaces. The original intention was to redevelop them as rental flats, but Hanáková and Techlovský eventually decided to create a single apartment that they could occupy themselves.

    ORA’s design for the apartment reveals aspects of the building’s past while introducing modern features that reflect the owners’ love for contemporary design and minimalist style.
    The building’s original carved wooden ceiling beams are left exposed”We did not want to create a historical ‘museum’ interior, nor a design showroom,” said Hanáková and Techlovský. “We wanted to organically connect the historical and contemporary layers.”
    The architects began by removing an existing partition wall in the main living space and reinstating the original open layout. This created a large salon that reveals the full splendour of the Renaissance-era wooden ceiling.
    The kitchen was designed as a standalone unit that is raised above the floorThe restoration process also uncovered original stone walls that were painted a deep crimson colour. Together with the wooden rafters, this informed a material palette that complements these dark, saturated tones and creates a cosy atmosphere.
    The apartment’s bedroom features a small remnant of the original ceiling fresco. The rest of the room is painted a cream colour to lend the space a calm and relaxing feel.

    No Architects completes “seamless” revamp of 1920s house in Prague

    In the bathroom, ORA chose to combine cool colours with white tiles and large mirrors to brighten the space. Playful details such as the irregularly shaped bathtub, curved sinks and tiles with rounded edges help to soften the overall aesthetic.
    Throughout the apartment, the architects added bespoke freestanding furniture that performs the necessary functions without disturbing or concealing the existing heritage features.
    The bed is dominated by an oversized headboard”The interior design is approached as a collage of motifs,” said ORA. “The furniture is inserted into the historical space in the form of separate objects that create distance from the historical elements.”
    The kitchen, for example, was designed as a standalone unit that is raised above the floor and stops well short of the ceiling. Its sink, hob and countertop occupy a central void, with all other functions concealed within the cabinetry.
    It takes pride of place in the centre of the bedroomThe bed features an oversized headboard that connects with a wardrobe on its reverse side. It is placed in the centre of the bedroom and is angled to provide the best view of the window and the original painted ceiling.
    Custom-made furniture is built from dark-stained birch plywood with contrasting brass legs that help to enhance the sense of separation from the existing spaces.
    Lighting is either freestanding or integrated into furniture such as the kitchen unit and bed. An overhead light above the dining table is mounted on a bracket so it does not touch the historical ceiling.
    ORA combined cool colours with white tiles in the bathroomORA, which stands for Original Regional Architecture, was founded in 2014 by Jan Veisser, Jan Hora and Barbora Hora. The studio is based in the small town of Znojmo, with previous projects including the conversion of a 16th-century home in Mikulov to create a modern guesthouse.
    Other recent attempts at revamping the historical residences of the Czech Republic include a 1920s villa in Prague that was renovated by No Architects and a 100-year-old apartment in Karlovy Vary, where Plus One Architects uncovered the building’s original paintwork.
    The photography is by BoysPlayNice.

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    AHMM to transform office into co-living space next to London’s Barbican estate

    Developer HUB and investor Bridges Fund Management have revealed plans to convert a 1950s office building in London into Cornerstone, a co-living residential scheme designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

    Located on the edge of the Barbican estate, the Cornerstone project will draw from the iconic Barbican architecture to transform 45 Beech Street into 174 co-living residences along with street-level commercial spaces and amenities.
    “Building on the success of our previous London projects with HUB, we are joining forces again to transform an underloved office building in the heart of the city,” Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) director Hazel Joseph said.
    AHMM has revealed plans for a co-living retrofit next to London’s Barbican estateAHMM’s proposal aims to re-use as much of the building’s existing structure and facade as possible, taking a “retrofit-first approach” to minimise the need for new building works.
    The studio will also primarily work within the geometric parameters defined by the original envelope, while updating the rectilinear language to create uniform apertures for each co-living apartment.

    Referencing the Barbican estate, a series of arched, double-height extrusions will be introduced across the crown of the building to house additional co-living apartments.
    The design will adapt the existing building’s form and insert a series of arched spaces at the top”The architectural approach has been carefully considered, responding sensitively to the much-loved Barbican context, completing the northern frontage of the estate,” Joseph said.
    The arches will be partially set back from the building’s facade and lined with an asymmetric patchwork of glazed and tile panels underneath the curved overhangs.

    Plans for Barbican concert hall by Diller Scofidio & Renfro axed

    At street level, warm red panel accents will contrast against the building’s neutral concrete finishes to highlight commercial and collective functions.
    The scheme will integrate a public cafe, a co-working space and community-focused amenities at its lower levels to improve the public realm for those who live and work in the area.
    “The existing structure of 45 Beech Street will be re-used and extended, creating a new residential community with shared amenities and breathing new life into the local streetscape,” Joseph explained.
    At street level, new commercial and public amenities will seek to activate the ground planeAccording to HUB and Bridges Fund Management, AHMM’s proposal was developed in collaboration with the community – including Barbican residents – who were consulted through a series of workshops and events.
    A website was also established to solicit viewpoints about the redevelopment, reiterating the design vision to establish a “vibrant community” that will adapt the original building and holistically contribute to the neighbourhood.
    AHMM was established in 1989 by Simon Allford, Jonathan Hall, Paul Monaghan and Peter Morris in London. The studio has previously converted a 1930s block into New Scotland Yard’s headquarters in London and completed a mixed-use building in Southwark with interlocking flats.
    Also adjacent to the Barbican estate, Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s proposal for a pyramidal music centre was recently scrapped when the City of London Corporation revealed its plans for a “major renewal” of the Barbican.
    The images are courtesy of HUB and Bridges Fund Management.

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    ICA Stop supermarket designed as a “culinary dream come true”

    Swedish studio Westblom Krasse Arkitektkontor and design agency Snask have revamped a supermarket in Täby, adding pastel hues and materials such as terrazzo and wood to “turn shopping into an experience”.

    The design was intended as a facelift for the store, which is part of Sweden’s ICA supermarket chain and had been given many smaller additions over the years without an overall design direction.
    Together, Snask and Westblom Krasse Arkitektkontor redesigned the 2,200-square-metre store outside of Stockholm, refreshing its interior by creating multiple themed stations.
    A pink juice bar welcomes visitors inside Täby’s ICA StopThese include a pink juice and smoothie bar, a “vegan butchery” station, a seafood and champagne bar and a bar for delicacies, designed to give ICA Stop the feel of a market hall.
    “Our main goal was to create a more personal shopping experience,” Snask creative director Freddie Öst told Dezeen.

    “We did this by modernising the brand and giving it a concept as the culinary dream come true.”
    Snask and Westblom Krasse Arkitektkontor used colours that would enhance the produceTo create clean sightlines inside the shop, which also has a restaurant space at the front, Westblom Krasse Arkitektkontor and Snask used rounded shapes throughout the interior.
    “This wasn’t just about keeping the store from turning into a sardine can,” Öst said. “It was about giving everything and everyone room to breathe – and look fabulous doing it – even products that would otherwise be blocking one another.”
    Fruit counters have ribbed sides and perforated metal shelvingFor both practical and aesthetic reasons, the bars and counters were given a ribbed effect that adds textural interest to the store interior.
    “It’s like putting pinstripes on a curve – it adds just the right amount of flair without messing with the flow,” Öst said.
    “[It’s] a classy shout out to those fluted columns from the architectural playbook,” he added. “We made store design not just functional but fashionably sleek, with a wink and a nod to the ancients.”
    Terrazzo was used for the tabletops in the restaurantThe studios used materials not usually associated with supermarkets for the interior, including lacquered wood, stainless steel and terrazzo, which was used for the tabletops in the restaurant section.
    Counters were wrapped in thick medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and fortified with steel rods to protect them against “rogue shopping carts”, while the fruit and vegetable shelves were constructed from perforated lacquered metal.

    Wine and Eggs is a colourful Los Angeles grocery with a European feel

    “We made sure to blur the lines between a regular supermarket and the nirvana of a chef, turning shopping into an experience,” Öst said.
    As the store remained open while it was being refurbished, the studios had to plan the change of the interior in different stages.
    Stainless-steel counters “pop like a comic strip”They chose to use pastel colours throughout the stores for the shelving and bars to keep the focus on the food itself.
    “We fine-tuned the entire space against a new backdrop of soothing soft blue allowing for the fresh produce to become the leading actor with its rainbow hues,” Öst said.
    “The stainless steel counters add a pop like a comic strip,” he added. “The market hall slithers like a friendly serpent, presenting an array of cheese, meats and cold cuts, guiding you through the culinary wonderland without disturbing the colours of food and packaging.”
    Snask redesigned the logo and branding for the storeAs well as the refreshed interior, Snask also worked on the branding for ICA Stop.
    “The logo was redrawn and we also added the S symbol, making it a recognizable brand marker,” Öst explained.
    “Per usual, we threw away the old ways of doing things and dialled up both colours, typography, design, architecture and fun.”
    The colourful store is located in Täby outside of StockholmThe unusual interior of the store, which is now open to customers, has divided opinions.
    “Most customers adored the change, while others… not so much. But hey, that’s the result of flipping the supermarket game on its head,” Öst concluded, adding a quote by graphic designer Tibor Kalman: “When you create something no one hates, no one loves it either”.
    Other creative grocery store designs include Wine and Egg in Los Angeles, which was designed to have a “European feel”, and the stripped-back and simple interior of supermarket Consum’s Benicàssim store.
    The photography is by Mikael Lundblad och Jesper Westblom.

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    Chai Guys Portobello cafe interior evokes “the colour of spices”

    Local studio SODA has used warm colours and natural materials to create the first store for tea brand Chai Guys on Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill neighbourhood.

    The studio drew on the “informal nature” of drinking masala chai tea when designing the interior for the cafe – the first one for the Chai Guys brand, which has previously operated from market stalls.
    The Chai Guys cafe is located on Portobello Road in London”We wanted to keep true to the informal nature of drinking chai by creating a grounded space with low-level seating where there is always room for one more by pulling up a stool,” SODA interior designer Matilde Menezes told Dezeen.
    “The counter was kept quite low, too, to showcase the act of serving chai, which is quite theatrical.”
    The interior has plaster walls and boucle seatsThe Chai Guys Portobello cafe comprises a seating area and a front-of-house desk where the tea is prepared, as well as a bakery at the back that sells pastries.

    As many of the visitors will be getting takeaway drinks, Menezes says she wanted to provide “an impactful impression that was simple and subtle at the same time”.
    Timber panelling clads part of the wallsThe studio also aimed for the 55-square-metre space to be a peaceful refuge from hectic Portobello Road and to reference the Chai Guys branding.
    “The brand is a modern take on chai with its black dynamic typography layered over clean and minimal design,” Menezes explained.

    SODA creates contemporary MYO offices inside 1970s London building

    “We wanted the colour palette to sit back and let the branding and product be the main event in moments such as the counter, the shopfront, and the retail shelving,” she added.
    “In areas where the branding wasn’t present, we wanted the palette to evoke the colours of the spices and standalone as a direct but understated reference to chai.”
    SODA used natural materials like leather and wood for the cafeThe studio chose to work mainly with natural materials for the interior, which features walls in Clayworks plaster.
    “Clayworks is non-toxic, has low embodied energy and carbon, is breathable, passively regulates humidity and is produced in the UK,” Menezes said.
    “On top of this, the handmade quality of each stroke and lived-in quality complemented the aesthetic we were trying to achieve.”
    A counter serves Chai tea and pastriesSODA also clad the walls in timber panelling and chose boucle and leather for the seating, adding to the store’s tactile feel.
    “Timber has its innate grain and richness, leather ages and provides sheen and the boucle appeals to the touch and is quite striking in the Masala tone,”  Menezes said.
    “All these tactile touchpoints were selected to be resilient in a high-traffic commercial space.”
    Other recent projects by SODA, which was founded by Laura Sanjuan and Russell Potter in 2012, include a colourful interior for The Office Group and a theatre with a revolving auditorium.

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