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.
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 store redesign features a vertical wood panel system lines on 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 neighborhoods.
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," commented Susan Sloan of slo.vis Architects.
"The use of a city grid as a template allows an additional element of adaptability for future store locations should Kee's expand," added Manu Garza of et al. collaborative.