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KEES CHOCOLATES, NEW YORK
Wednesday 30 May 2012
Kee's Chocolates has established itself as a premier destination for chocolate in NYC. After nearly ten years as a neighborhood staple, Kee's has commissioned Architects slo.vis and et al. collaborative with a complete redesign of the Soho store.
A vertical wood panel system lines one wall from floor to ceiling. A series of offset wooden slats create a continuous texture from the front to the back of the store and provide storage spaces for chocolate boxes, located just behind the display cases. As the wall turns, the pattern continues, however the back substrate of the wood slats begin to disappear allowing light and air to pass through. Five pendant lights illuminate the carefully curated display cases below.
An exposed brick wall on the opposite side leads the customers through the store to the displays. Refrigerated display cases for chocolates and macaroons are clad in wood panels and laser etched with maps of the surrounding New York neighbourhoods.
slo.vis and et al. collaborative began with several explorations of the design, ultimately finding that minimalism and use of natural materials proved to be a complimentary fit. "The challenge was creating a design that would match the quality of the chocolate, without overpowering the understated elegance that Kee has established." says Susan Sloan of slo.vis Architects.
slo.vis was approached by Kee's Chocolates last year just as slo.vis was beginning construction on a residential project with fellow Brooklyn studio et al. collaborative. Noting the combined strengths of the two studios, slo.vis brought on et al. collaborative as a partner for the Kee's project.
"The use of a city grid as a template allows an additional element of adaptability for future store locations should Kee's expand," says Manu Garza of et al. collaborative.
slo.vis is a New York based architecture and design studio working within a range of scales. slo.vis' work includes includes a renovation of The Grace Institute and residential projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn. et al. collaborative is a Brooklyn based architectural design practice with a strong emphasis on collaborative processes. The studio designs site specific projects with a cross-disciplinary focus. Their work has been featured by Oculus, core77, Fast Company & Wired.