Wednesday 17 Aug 2011


Design Studio Graven Images takes off with its Chocolate Lounge design at Dublin Airport's new Terminal 2

Summer - synonymous with sun, beach, holidays... and airport stampedes. During high season busy airports tend to make stress levels soar and can ruin the beginning of what is supposed to be a relaxing break abroad. Help is at hand however at Dublin Airport's new Terminal 2, where passengers can indulge in a stress-busting treat at the Chocolate Lounge, an innovative new F&B concept designed by internationally renowned design studio Graven Images. 

Design Director Jim Hamilton was already familiar with Chocolate Lounge's owners Stephanie and Frank Grant, of Grant Catering, having masterminded the design of the original Chocolate Lounge at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh in 2009. Stephanie and Frank are real Chocolatiers, being also the proud owners of Chocolate Soup, a small chain of chocolate inspired cafés in Edinburgh and Dublin. Following the success of the Harvey Nichols original, their concept proved to be a natural choice for Dublin Airport's new terminal, which aims to move away from chain restaurants, soggy sandwiches and plastic cups and offer an altogether more refined and fun airport experience.

Graven Images wanted to create a space that stood out from the crowd and would become the natural hub of the departure lounge. Having travelled extensively throughout his career, Jim Hamilton lamented the general lack of sophistication at airports and envisioned Chocolate Lounge as an alluring space, reminiscent of the days when flying was still considered to be a thrilling affair.

The design represents "glamorous minimalism", Jim explains. "The lounge resembles a stylish bar - it is decadent yet understated, a space with longevity that will still look current in years to come. Chocolate is of course the main attraction, so we used white as a basic colour to contrast with the darker tones of the chocolate dishes. A series of single pieces of light-reflecting mirrors at the main counter create a feeling of light and space, and we added compact mirrors at counter level for customers to touch up their lipstick and check for any chocolate marks. The whole experience is meant to be fun and playful, to make the airport experience more bearable."

Chocolate Lounge's centre-piece is a sushi-style conveyer belt filled with sweet treats, including lavender & chilli chocolate shots, champagne sorbet, chocolate affogato, and numerous other calorific indulgences which are best washed down with a glass of chilled Champagne.

Jim conceived the idea of a conveyer belt while working on the first Chocolate Lounge at Harvey Nichols, where he faced considerable space restrictions. What started as a space-saving measure at the original site has turned into a "mobile catwalk for chocolate" at Dublin's new terminal, as visitors are invited to linger and let themselves be tempted by the chocolate delicacies floating past while they wait for their flight to depart.

To date Dublin Airport is only Chocolate Lounge's second site, however there have been hints from Graven Images' side that further outlets in Europe and the UAE may be in the pipeline - which is good news for all Chocolate Loungeaholics.


more projects by this designer