PRODUCE distills the architectural bones of the School of the Arts (SOTA) in Singapore to create the interiors for Kki Sweets and The Little Dröm Store. Stephanie Peh writes.
Photography: Edward Hendricks, CI&A Photography, unless otherwise stated
Creating an interior space that is distinctive, yet relevant within a commanding piece of architecture is no easy task. Singaporean design studio PRODUCE met the challenge head on in their design of Kki Sweets (a Japanese-inspired patisserie) and The Little Dröm Store (an art and design knick-knack shop), and the project recently received the Best Retail Interior accolade at INSIDE World Festival of Interiors 2015.
Formerly located at Ann Siang Hill as separate units, Kki Sweets and The Little Dröm Store now reside within the award-winning School of the Arts (SOTA) building designed by WOHA. Housed within a single space, subtle parallels had to be drawn between both brands, while retaining their individual identities.
Drawing Diagrammatic Parallels
A distilled impression of the building’s typology was derived for the space, informed by a “datum plane and the volumes that it segregate.”
“The essence of SOTA’s architecture is a triple-layered parti with performance auditoriums at the base and classrooms on top. The middle layer, the datum plane, is an open mezzanine looking down at the auditorium foyers,” PRODUCE describes SOTA’s architectural structure, where inspiration for their own project was drawn.
Within the stores, ‘datum planes’ above are depicted by solid pine trellis, while the ‘volumes’ below are represented by maple veneered plywood, inviting guests to experience the essence of the building from within. The datum planes above ground serve as a quiet linkage between both stores, while remaining low key to allow the entities to remain independent on the ground.
The long shopfront faces an open stage in the atrium where a large glass facade was erected to enable customers to witness the performance space from within.
Customers enter through an ‘internal street’ that divides both brands. The signage of each space hangs along the ‘internal street’, indicating to the guest that there are two parts to the space.
The ‘internal street’ extends into Kki Sweets, which occupies a larger portion of the space. “Kki is conceived as a series of volumes or ‘houses’ dispersed across an open space forming interstitial streets. The envelope of the houses have built-in tables that allow for conversations to happen,” says PRODUCE.
“Windows” are used to suspend plants, creating an integrated lighting feature with greenery. LED lights are embedded within the grooves of the hanging trellis, throwing light upwards to create a diffused reflection downwards to showcase the cakes on display.
The space was kept pristine and stripped down to reflect the main product line of Kki Sweets – their cakes – which are defined by their outwardly simple geometry but internally complex construction. It was also necessary to create an intimate environment to complement their new brand, Kki Home, a retail line with crafted homewares.
While the structural volumes on ground level in Kki Sweets are adapted to suit practical requirements, functioning as tables and shelves for dining and retailing, they continue in the Little Dröm Store as an interpretation of a “treehouse” – a theme synonymous with the whimsical retail store.
Little Dröm Store was designed to accommodate a large selection of products, where shelves, counters and pushcarts beneath the treehouse create a multi-layered retail environment.
Across the space, light-coloured materials contrast with the dark colours of SOTA’s atrium and help both stores extend their own vibrant identity.