A local London brand, Snowflake Luxury Gelato, launched a 2-month pop-up shop in Kensington in 2015. The experiment was a huge success, and Fernwood Interiors were tasked with transforming the temporary shop into a permanent location. Founded in 2012, Snowflake Gelato now have 5 branches across the capital. Their team of award-winning chefs use the finest ingredients to create decadent treats including sundaes, milk shakes and even gelato cakes. Their boutiques also serve waffles, crepes and afternoon tea, giving customers a choice of treats to enjoy with their tea or coffee but creating more of a challenge for the workspace.
In transforming the temporary pop-up shop space into a permanent location, Snowflake wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere for their customers and maintain a sense of continuity with their other locations without replicating a particular design. The Snowflake team also wanted to build on the success of their pop-up shop by making it easy for passers-by to stop in for a takeaway or to take a seat and linger. Set in a busy part of a busy neighbourhood, Snowflake Kensington aimed to provide a haven in the midst of bustle.
While the pop-up shop had focussed on ice cream, the new boutique eatery would offer a full range of Snowflake treats. The pop-up shop had very basic facilities, a single short counter and limited seating space. The permanent gelataria required ample seating and a free-flowing counter space where customers could easily get a coffee or gelato to go. The working area also needed to be updated and improved and while freezer space was critical, facilities to make and present hot food and baked goods were also required. Fernwood met the challenge to create a modern, relaxed atmosphere by using high quality, beautiful yet practical materials such as stainless steel and grey oak laminate flooring.
Emboldened by the richness of the Snowflake brand colour, a luxurious chocolate brown, Fernwood designed a space which, like the gelato itself, combines intensity and lightness. New staircases were the game changer for this property. One staircase opened up the basement area as an efficient workspace with room for a space-saving walk-in freezer as well as hygienic food preparation areas while the other now leads to a relaxed mezzanine seating area. A glass balustrade system was used for the staircase which helps create boundaries without visual interruption, increasing the natural light throughout the space and giving customers an excellent view of Kensington itself.
The tempting gelato display cabinet remains front and centre in the new space which is now much more open. The rich, chocolate brown of the frontage and super-sized sapele door provide a warm welcome, tempting passers-by to stop for a cool treat. The large windows not only let in the light but give customers a chance to watch the world go by as they rest, with excellent views over this vibrant district. For staff, the new workspaces have been designed to be efficient and easy to use, making Snowflake Kensington, more than ever, a pleasure to work for.
Project featured in Retail Design World, September 2016.