The Instagrammable Milk Train ice cream shop by FormRoom design studio was created to “catered primarily to their diverse Instagram demographic” who have propelled the brand to instant online fame in 2018.
And there is no doubt FormRoom managed to make of Milk Train a very Instagrammable spot!
A sense of nostalgia and joy sparks from their products and the dreamy cotton candy clouds that wrap their ice creams are a proof of it. This “vintage mood” is reflected in FormRoom’s choice of a predominately monochromatic palette that echoes the Art Deco movement popularized amongst traditional train stations and platform iconography, a reference to the brand’s name.
The interior design of the Instagrammable Milk Train shop is both surreal and timeless. Black arched profiles create a sequence in the eating area, where cloud-shaped frames fixed at the ceiling mimic the steam emitted from a train’s chimney.
Customers find an “Arrivals” sign above the counter that playfully marks the order and collect spot. At the back, it is the blackboard with the ice-creams flavors and options, another referencer to the British signage design. A play on the iconic British underground messaging with “Mind the Melt” ( “Mind the gap”) is also embedded into the mosaic tiled floor.
We cannot help but seeing also a nod to Wes Anderson’s atmospheres, whose influence in interior design we have seen in the Biasol’s coffee shop in Melbourne.
The Covent Garden shop is the first shop of the brand and will provide the core brand design blueprint for the next ones.
For FormRoom, the biggest challenge was to balance between the timeless and the immersive design of the space as this needed not just to be unique but also to be able to evolve as swiftly as Instagram trends do. For this reason, the studio key focus was to create a space that was easily adaptable to all trends whilst not deviating from their dreamy ice cream products and the core brand identity.
According to the design studio, “experience economy has gone beyond retail and into any consumer-led space, leading to the rise of destination dining.” We see how more and more often how brand identity needs to be connected with customers’ experience, particularly in the spatial design. It is a fact that next generation customers need to experience authentic brand loyalty via spaces that can resonate with them.
Another example of this is the Glossier flagship store by Gachot Studios: the shop embodies this new type of retail space where customers come to have a whole experience that can enrich their life.
Photography is by Paul Lewis.