In the era of social media, commercial interior design has become more important than ever. No matter what you’re selling, if you don’t offer a space where people are going to want to take selfies and post them on Instagram, you’re probably falling behind your competition.
But some businesses take their quest to be selfie-worthy way too far. Are we close to a point where we’re all sick to death of Instagrammer-magnet murals complete with promotional hashtags? Will we soon reach the end of trends that value photogenic looks over substance, even when it comes to the flavor of food? Who knows. The good news is, places still exist that manage to strike a balance between both.
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Check out this sweet ice cream store in London’s Covent Garden. Milk Train offers the kind of treats that stand on their own merit, like soft serve convections sitting on clouds of white cotton candy, topped with all manner of cookies, pretzels, candies, and even breakfast cereal. And when the stuff you’re selling is already manna from heaven to influencers, you might as well have a space to match.
Design firm Formroom took inspiration from art deco train stations to give the ice cream shop an iconic look. Instead of minding your step, you’ll be reminded to “mind the melt” by the double lines on the tiled floor. The counter features signs that read “order,” “arrivals,” and “collect,” while toppings are housed inside graphic interpretations of old instrument panels.
Instead of train schedules, the board on the wall displays the menu. Suitcases adorn shelves on the walls, and the booths resemble tiny train cars. The white, baby blue and pale wood color palette is appropriately cool in more ways than one.
Design publication Architronic reports: “Milk Train approached FormRoom to design and produce an immersive space that catered primarily to their diverse Instagram demographic, who propelled the brand to instant online fame in 2018. FormRoom worked with the brand to strategize and evolve upon their four core pillars: Surreal, Timeless, British, and Immersive.”
“FormRoom created a unique, dream-like landscape for the Milk Train customer. A predominately monochromatic palette is utilized to echo the art deco movement popularized amongst traditional train stations and platform iconography. Covent Garden was to provide the core brand design blueprint, by which all future sites will evolve from. Since launching, the design has generated an unprecedented response online, including being awarded ‘Best Experiential Design’ at The Drum Awards 2019 and ‘Best Café Design’ at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards 2019.”
The shop takes advantage of it’s ultra-enticing aesthetic with undeniably cute seasonal accents like autumn leaves and spring flowers — all the better to match their corresponding seasonal ice cream offerings. Every detail has been carefully thought out, and the result is stylish and memorable instead of feeling like a passing fad.