- Towodesign and The Dessert Kitchen
One outstanding example of this is The Dessert Shop, designed by the Chinese studio Towodesign. A coffee and cake shop in a shopping mall in Chengdu. For over 2,000 years, Chengdu has been one of the cultural centres of western and southwestern China. It is now the capital of Sichuan Province and has a population of over 16 million in its metropolitan area. Located in the underground section of the mall, recessed behind the entrance and almost completely hidden by the overhead escalator, the shop needed to make a real statement to give it visual appeal and attract customers. Towodesign opted for a large yellow table that extends from the outside dining area to the showcase window where the logo is positioned and leads into the actual interior.
This yellow surface with lots of different-sized holes resembles Swiss cheese and its irregular, almost sculptural shape sets up new points of interaction for the people sitting there. It is an irresistible visual drawcard, like all references to food that is fundamental for our survival because it gives us energy for life. Towodesign explored this almost sacred sense of food and nourishment and interpreted the coffee shop as a kind of dessert heaven with all the ritualism of a church-like interior. A place of worship to calmly and “sweetly” enjoy the ritual of teatime in a friendly, relaxing atmosphere.
They applied elements of towering domes to the ceiling, like in churches, to create a number of vaults aligned with the location’s trapezoidal form. The fin-covered vaults assist in concealing the air-conditioning vent and create a kind of visual hierarchy.
This stark white grid is balanced by the yellow walls behind the fins that soften the colour palette of the bold Swiss-cheese yellow facade and bar counter and echoing the outside dining area of The Dessert Shop. Towodesign’s design of the interior furniture as round or curved shapes makes the space flexible and enables customers to enjoy this entertaining feast for your eyes and your taste buds. And it’s all set in a unique backdrop - somewhere between the chocolate-inspired settings of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the more savoury dream of Ratatouille, to share not only a venue but also visual experiences and emotions.
Design firm: Towodesign (www.towodesign.com)
Chief designer: He Mu
Design team: Ren Wei, Sun Meng, Zheng Liyuan
Location: B1, REN HE TOWN MALL, Chengdu, China
Area: 69 m2
Completion time: November 2018