Text description provided by the architects. Tel Aviv based design studio Craft & Bloom recently unveiled their Manhattan popup space for men's grooming brand Maapilim, a 350-square-foot (33-sq-meter), minimalist homage to Mediterranean aesthetics.
For the ephemeral store, Craft & Bloom was commissioned to encapsulate the slow living and wellness approach by Maapilim into a physical popup store. Inspired by the convoluted Grecian rooftop gardens - surrounded by serenity, iconic Mediterranean shapes and local herbs, Craft & Bloom created a space for people to enter and feel a transition from one of the world's busiest retail neighborhoods, NoLita, into a different mode, activating all of their senses. Bringing shapes, materials, scents and local herbs from across the Mediterranean, Craft & Bloom manifested a physical sense of Maapilim's essence and values surrounding a slower-paced state of mind.
In order to best emulate this state of mind and provide a calming environment, Craft & Bloom purposely limited materials to a minimum to allow the mind to focus and not be over stimulated. The main material choice is a soft white mineral plaster, iconic to Greek architecture. The soft lines and imperfect shapes of the store's display, creating an approachable scene for customers - inviting them into vacation mode as opposed to the pristine clean lines of more modern displays.
The lengthy low-bench that runs along one full wall of the space further invites guests to sit down and enjoy a moment in a hidden garden amongst the bustle of the city. Here, customers may be testing products, consult with a skin care specialist or to just sit for a moment and enjoy the sounds and smells of the Mediterranean over a traditional coffee. The hardwood floors are cleverly disguised with gravel upon which Craft & Bloom laid a soft white concrete to mimic a Mediterranean garden, including fresh herbs true to the region that are found in Maapilim's products. Each element brought into the space has been carefully sourced and researched.
Tel Aviv-based ceramicist Avi Ben Shoshan was commissioned to create all the ceramic elements in the space. Ben Shoshan's works sit beautifully on the intersection between nostalgic motifs and modern lines. Together with Craft & Bloom, Ben Shoshan created a set of ceramics that not only looks and feels beautiful but helps introduce the customer to the more ceremonious approach to slow living. The sink in the space does not have a faucet, but rather a perfectly shaped water jug used to pour over one's hands - an ode to Greek baths and a glimpse into a slower paced life.