Collaborators: Osaka refrigeration, Smart Materials, Back Combined Kuwait
Text description provided by the architects. Studio Toggle was commissioned by the young Kuwaiti chocolatier, Bean2Bar to design their debut boutique in Arjan Square, a trendy F&B concept in Salmiya, Kuwait. The 33m2 space with a narrow frontage posed a significant challenge for the architects who desired to create a bright and airy atmosphere with plenty of storage space and flexibility. The architects devised a simple solution that featured a slender, cellular waffle vault along with the longitudinal axis of the store that morphed into a sleek secondary enclosure.
This eliminated the need for a conventional ceiling and created an illusion of a greater expanse. The dimensions of the cells of the vault were based on the modular packaging unit used by the chocolatier and this led to new synergies like re-imagining the vault with its cellular modularity as an analogue screen with the cells doubling up as pixels. Messages or patterns could be displayed on it as required by using a combination of empty cells or by changing the colours of the packaging unit. This opens up possibilities for the store to change its ambience in a very easy and intuitive way to suit various occasions.
The vault was parametrically generated and optimized for digital fabrication as a slot-in waffle system. This enhanced the ease of construction; cut down material wastage and resulted in a very precise self-supported steel structure. The symmetry of the vault is broken and emphasized at the same time by employing an algorithmically generated steel chandelier, which almost has a parasitic relationship with the vault. By juxtaposing these strongly opposing elements, the architects created a refined industrial look for the boutique while maximizing the efficiency and the lightness of the space.
Vein-cut silver travertine was chosen as flooring and also to clad the built-in refrigerated counters. This added a warm undertone and balanced the overall ambience. Bean2Bar was a successful implementation of generative processes not just as a design tool but also to aid in the digital fabrication and optimization workflow, which was essential to the completion of this boutique.