Maison des Maîtres by Minale Design Strategy

Faceted chocolate-brown panels line the walls of this chocolatiers’s shop in Brussels designed by Minale Design Strategy.

A triangular relief at the top of the walls gives way to a flat, regular grid further down, making way for display cases.

Located on the city’s Grand Place, the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges sells chocolate by ten master chocolatiers.

Minale Design Strategy also created the branding and identity for the shop.

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The information that follows is from the designers:

A chocolate jewel case for chocolate gems

From outside, one is drawn in by the originality of this boutique.Once past its glass entryway, the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges strikes the senses of the visitor with its bold singularity. The single floor-to-ceiling chocolate color treatment of this triangular space definitely stirs emotional response.

The three dimensions of the space suggest a chocolate quarry, out of which the shop has been hewn,» explains Samuel Dubech, interior designer for Minale Design Strategy. On the walls, one notes diamond-like facets in their upper and lower zones, which visually «melt» into the floor and ceiling. The chocolate «raw materials» give way at midpoint to perfectly aligned chocolate squares from which extend glass display shelves.

The interior design echoes the transformation process of crude rock from the quarry: from the rawness of the space to the refinement of the displayed product.The orthogonal feel of the store’s two display walls offers a well-defined showcase to resident artisans. Each is provided with a dedicated space for his or her portrait, career path, birthplace and personal quote. On the floor, carved join-lines link the lower points of the wall to the straight edges of the central units that seem to push up from the floor.

Also treated to a lick of chocolate brown, they are equipped with a retro-lit glass plate to highlight the products of the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges. They become an exhibition zone according to the events of the year. Visitors can sample pralines and more than ten varieties of hot chocolate on site.

At the center of this triangular space lies the exposition zone of the Master Chocolate Makers. Presented in a unified fashion (photo, brand, quote...), they display their creations on glass shelves, a material that echoes the precious quality of the products on show.

At the heart of a chocolate quarry

The visitor penetrates a chocolate world from top to bottom, like a chocolate quarry out of which the shop has been carved. A raw material, as if shaped by the artisan. The intrinsic character of the space is relayed by its «diamond point» design, which, under the play of careful, precise lighting, offers subtly graded chocolate tones, and creates a unique experience for the visitor. Guaranteed pure chocolate !

At the back of the store, floor and wall melt in a «waterfall» of melted chocolate. Near the counter, to the left, the fudge-hued wall turns to milky white, thus introducing the white chocolate theme that continues upstairs. The second floor «atelier» is where the Académie du Chocolat will meet and where more «scientific» demonstrations will take place. All the Maison’s architectural elements were custom designed and made to measure.

Both awards are testimonials to the importance of design in today’s consumer market, concludes Gwenaël Hanquet. A design carried through to the smallest details creates a kind of harmony that literally transcends the concept to reveal its strength. These distinctions are also proof that design is not the reserved domain of big chains; it is within the reach of all those who want to make their point of sale a living, breathing space capable of creating emotional response, while measuring up to exacting standards of profitability.

Creating emblematic brands in France, Benelux and abroad, Minale Design Strategy is a corporate and retail identity specialist.

An independent agency with offices in Paris, Brussels, London, Rome, Moscow and Brisbane, Minale Design Strategy advises businesses, property investment companies, mass-market chains, and retailers in areas of market strategy, name and brand creation, merchandising, and commercial space design.

The agency currently accompanies networks such as Delhaize, Colruyt, Multipharma, Côte d’Or, Brico, Century 21, Luxus, Conforama, Carestel

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