If you grew up in the 1990s like Julien Albertini, you probably watched a lot of Nickelodeon.
So when a client asked him and his partner in Asthetique to design an ice cream shop, it was inevitable that their architecture and branding solution would involve pops of color and bold geometric shapes.
And materials familiar to their fellow millennials, the target market in a Bronx mall. “There are tiles on the arches, plaster on the walls and white oak on the tables that’s warm to touch,” he says. “It’s a very gentle palette.”
Albertini and his partner in the Bronx-based firm, Alina Pimkina, are well-versed at designing restaurants and building brands. Here, they designed all the interiors, as well as logo and collateral material, including shirts, hats, uniforms, signage and business cards.
And even the naming: Ice Scream. Not to mention the tagline: Better than Therapy.
The pair works well together, taking advantage of natural diametric differences. “There’s a balance between the feminine and masculine in me and my partner,” he says. “She’s from Russia and I’m from the Bronx. I’m African American and she Caucasian.”
They joined forces to overcome challenges from designing in a mall. “The space is just 1,500 square feet, and there were guidelines for how the store could look,” he says. “And there were menu options – we weren’t able to have hot food.”
But they were able to accommodate a nitrogen process of creating creamy, rather than crystalline, ice cream. “You flash-freeze it to make it super-soft and buttery,” he says. “You take the liquid, put in a mixer bowl and next to it is a spout that pumps out nitrogen vapors to freeze it, and then you put it in a cup.”
All that happens in a space that’s designed to allow people to move around, or have a seat and take a selfie or two. “We wanted to make sure the space was very Instagrammable, so people can share the design and the experience,” he says. “The question was: ‘What could we do to make the space super-aesthetically pleasing and photographable?’”
And also Nickelodeon-like, for the millennials.
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