Architects: Gwenaël Hanquet
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Architects: Olivier Zavaro and Samuel Dubech
Project Year: 2011
From the architect. Minale Design Strategy created the store name. «The idea was to build an emblematic store that would identify and personalize the country’s master chocolate makers, he continues. The Maison is a federating element, a brand in its own right. We did not want to create a shop that would be but a patchwork of various artisans and their wares. At the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers, on the contrary, each individual brand is showcased for its specific qualities, in a homogenous, value-enhancing setting.»
«Maison» was chosen for its warm «family» ring. The purely Belgian (100% Belge) aspect of the project is expressed through codes borrowed from the world of chocolate (100% cacao). As for the typography, it is mix that reconciles the values of craftsmanship and tradition, on a blue ground that adds a luminous, contemporary touch.
The orthogonal feel of the store’s two display walls offers a well-defined showcase to resident artisans. Each is provided with a dedicated space for his or her portrait, career path, birthplace and personal quote. On the floor, carved join-lines link the lower points of the wall to the straight edges of the central units that seem to push up from the floor. Also treated to a lick of chocolate brown, they are equipped with a retro-lit glass plate to highlight the products of the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges. They become an exhibition zone according to the events of the year. Visitors can sample pralines and more than ten varieties of hot chocolate on site.