Nendo's new design for chocolate shop, BbyB. in Ginza, Tokyo, pushes the envelope of retail experiences by drawing inspiration from the product packaging.
Images: Daici Ano
Nendo has created an experiential space for the appreciation of chocolates made by BbyB., the brainchild of Antwerp-based, two-Michelin star chef, Bart Desmidt. This is BbyB.’s first overseas venture, located within a standalone building in Ginza, Tokyo.
However, this is not the Japanese design studio’s first project that heightens the sensory appeal of chocolates, in light of its past works, the famous Chocolate Pencils designed for patissier, Tsujiguchi Hironobu, or more recently, the”chocolate” lounge presented at the MAISON&OBJET fair in Paris.
Walking into the lengthy and narrow space, a rainbow of swatches greets the customer. These are chocolate bars housed in transparent perspex product display units, custom made to fit the square shaped packaging boxes. They seem to float in mid air, juxtaposing the clinical background – a ’tiled’ white wall that creates the illusion of countless drawers.
Inspiration was drawn from the classic and modular form of BbyB.’s chocolates. While its standard bar shape appears to look the same from the outside, they come in 30 richly distinctive flavours, ranging from strawberry, pepper and lemon to passionfruit and basil. Due to the common shape of the chocolates, the packaging is kept modular, where five bars of chocolate sit neatly into a sliding square box. Five boxes slot together to form a cube.
Based on a similar modular approach, nendo designed a grid system of sliding transparent units to display the packaging boxes, neatly organised by colour. Customers slide open drawers to pick out their desired flavours, creating interaction and a sense of discovery linked to the experience of tasting Bbyb.’s chocolates, where surprises are offered up till the very last bite.
While the front of house is entirely white, the colour inverses as one navigates towards the rear where it turns black, abiding by the colour scheme of the packaging cube. The end of the shop sees the transparent chest turns into a showcase that displays chocolates in individual units, before stretching into the dark café space, becoming a bar where customers can sit by and indulge in chocolates over coffee.
A seamless transition was created between the act of eating the chocolates, and a retail space interwoven with the product packaging, “creating an organic and compelling experience” of enjoying the highly favoured candy.