VONSUNG recently completed the total identity design for Polka Gelato,
from naming, identity, branding, signage, website to spatial design. Based in a
conservation area, Fitzroy Square, Polka Gelato opens its doors to showcase
their artisanal way of creating ice cream. Despite all the talk of a double-dip
recession in the UK, the client's wish was to offer something enlightening,
from old to young, a sense of affordable luxury amid these difficult times.
The ambition of the new ice cream brand was to open a gelato store
sourced only from the finest ingredients of precious, exotic fruits, herbs,
spices and flavors. The vision was to bring the age-old history of Italian
gelato to London, while a recent trip to New York sparked a new revolutionary
thought – the gelato popsicle. To realize this vision, London's design
studio, VONSUNG, was invited to work on the dream.
The character of the listed building situated near the Fitzroy Square,
is clearly that of a London period building. The dilemma was how to avoid the
ice cream parlor formula of pop-culture, primary colours interior decoration,
without making a disconnected piece of modern design that clashes with the
building’s original identity. An early decision was to place the Polka’s
colourful, beautifully crafted gelatos as the central focal point and make the
surrounding interior resemble the sculpted nature of the hand-made gelato.
The concept of the store plays with the complementary characteristics
and the related dichotomy between male and female; child and adult; night and
day. This is reflected in the design through the formal language and tactile
quality of the finish materials used. The surrounding interior is unified with
a single colour used on all surfaces.
Housed inside a
concrete/limestone mix surrounding, the furniture piece on the floor is
designed as a strong, masculine and dynamic form whilst the lighting enunciates
femininity to create more fluid contour lines. The store is designed in a more
playful manner creating different zones that maintain the perspective view
Joseph Sung (Creative Director VONSUNG) has strived in his precedent
projects to experiment variant ways to explore materials. Among the natural,
old, and time-proven material, Sung has derived at lime concrete for this
project. Being situated in a historical setting, Sung felt that juxtaposing old
and new material would give expected meaning for both, as exemplified using
external architectural material within the interior space of the gelato store.
Stemming from the client brief, Sung identified with the key word, 'artisan', and
made every effort to not to allow the solid masses of concrete material to feel
uncomfortable for the visitors, but feel a sense of skill, artistry of the
space. The boundaries of the interior wall and ceiling were made to be
permeable as possible by way of shadow gaps and openings. Also, to reduce the
monolithic manner of concrete, Sung mixed limestone into the batch and applied
a smooth finish to the raw concrete. The result was an interior space, which
kindles the feeling of being an insider in an environment; simply put, it
recognises what may feel like being within a creamy gelato batch. By adopting
this method of design, Sung drew the attention to the timeliness of the space
and architecture. All faculties of perception and senses, particularly tactility,
facilitate the customer experience.
Known for increasingly severe minimalism, this project is Sung's latest
interpretation of totality of branding design, however restrained and serene
but rich in texture and delicate modulated light. With the aim of creating
a space that will age better with time, our design creates a circular passage
allowing the customer to experience the space in multiple ways and
interpretations. Furniture staged in key points throughout the store creates
the spatial concept.