Japanese studio Nendo has designed the first overseas store for BbyB., the chocolate shop by Antwerp-based, two-Michelin star chef Bart Desmidt. With their bar form, BbyB.’s chocolates may look the same from the outside, but they come in 30 richly distinctive flavours, from strawberry, pepper and lemon to passionfruit and basil. Because the chocolates are all the same shape, the packaging is modular: five bars of chocolate slot neatly into each sliding box, and five boxes slot together into a cube. The contents become apparent only gradually, as the boxes are opened and closed, offering surprises until the very last bite and turning the cube into a ‘magic chest of drawers’.
Following this logic, Nendo turned the shop space into a three-dimensional version of the chocolate packaging. The chocolates seem to float in a transparent ‘chest of drawers’, placed at the centre of the shop. When they purchase chocolates, customers slide the chest and remove them by themselves just like the chocolate packaging.
Towards the rear of the shop, the transparent chest becomes a showcase that displays chocolates individually, then turns into a counter for customers at the shop’s cafe. The shop is a long, narrow space, well-suited to accommodate a 12.5 m long piece of furniture.
Nendo made the front of the shop entirely white and the cafe space at the rear entirely black, following the colour scheme of the packaging cube, and ‘tiled’ the white wall with chocolate packages so that the entire wall turns into another ‘drawer’. The design creates a seamless transition between the shop space, the packaging and the act of eating the chocolates, offering an organic, compelling experience.
all images © DAICI ANO