Designed by Studio MVW, the futuristic Aoyama Lab dessert bar in Beijing looks more like a sci-fi medical facility than a place to eat cake. But its cutting-edge interior design is sure to set a new trend for clinical excellence.
The interiors of Aoyama Lab, which opened last summer, were conceived by Studio MVW’s Virginie Moriette and Xu Ming. The French-Chinese pair chose the colour celadon (a shade of pale green, which is reminiscent of Chinese jade) as the dominant hue, contrasted with polished steel, acrylic walls, marble and glass to give a space-age look and feel.
The desserts are modernist, minimal, precision-made and inspired by traditional French and Japanese recipes. Choices include choux buns, Aoyama rolls and two kinds of mille crepes. Staff are dressed in white lab coats (of course) and dainty sweets are served on petri dishes. Drinks include the Dance in Austral, “a ruby-brown and subtly sugary milk tea served in a glass bottle with moreishly chewy bubbles”.
Studio MVW says: “From the outside, the bar looks like an intriguing, high-tech oasis. It is enhanced by the transparency of the façade whose mesh cladding also conjures up the lightness and refinement found in the architecture of the thinly layered desserts sold in the bar.”
Aoyama Lab is divided into two areas – the front part where people order and buy desserts, and the back, which is a more exclusive space dedicated to tea testing and drinking. Studio MVW says that the use of natural materials such as stone, wood and Corian “introduces a sensory dimension to an otherwise ultramodern space, resulting in a comfortable, welcoming laboratory”.
Studio MVW addsd: “The science-inspired aesthetic is also visible in the hanging lights in the front space as well as in the glass console showcasing a tree or in the plants exposed within transparent blocks, like a herbarium from the future.
“The impression of purity created by acrylic walls, mirrors and sleek surfaces evokes a cutting-edge museum of natural history, a place to experiment and invent tomorrow’s life.
“In that sense, the architecture developed for Aoyama Lab exemplifies an interesting way to go beyond a purely commercial concept and to elevate the discussion by creating a universal, poetic frame around it.”