Alison Nelson, the founder of Chocolate Bar, a fast-growing confectionary company in downtown Manhattan, commissioned us to design her first uptown shop in the atrium of Henri Bendel’s.
The challenge was to come up with a design that juxtaposed two visually strong brands — one, hip, fun, and thoroughly delicious; the other, luxurious, elegant, with a storied New York history .
The main feature of our design was a bronze, glass and stone-clad bar accented by a light blue backdrop. Offering ‘to go’ service, it faces into the Bendel’s atrium.
Close by, we arranged bronze, glass-topped tables that offered customers a view of the famous Bendel windows as well as all the hustle and bustle going on inside the atrium. Our lush banquettes suggested yet another option for private tête à têtes. We designed them along with the fixtures, drawing on motifs from Chocolate Bar’s products as well as the Henri Bendel brand. For example, the horizontal stripes of the shelving , which highlight the beautiful graphics of the chocolate bars, are themselves a modification of the signature Bendel stripe. The café tabletops are designed with graphics that are a tribute to the wry sensibility of Chocolate Bar. We adorned the walls with silver and gold patterns. These not only relfect light but create delicate forms that evoke both Bendel’s Lalique windows and Chocolate Bar’s own playfulness. To display the company’s luscious truffles, we designed a Victorian-style table vitrine. Its thin, sensuous lines highlight the delicate shapes and patterns of the chocolate.
“The space is like a great piece of chocolate,: fun, luxurious and deliciously edible.”