Amsterdam-based studio XML was asked to design the interior for Whitestore, a pharmaceutical-concept shop selling vitamin drinks and water to frequenters of the city’s Red Light District.
XML designed an interior "saturated in white light" within a narrow, low-ceilinged shop nestled between the red-glowing signage of the sex shops and nightclubs of the district.
"Since its an area well known for its nightlife, our client had the idea this store would be a nice remedy for all the drinking and partying going on there," said studio co-founders Max Cohen de Lara and David Mulder.
Playing on the idea of chemists' dispensing counters, the architects installed a 9-metre-long bar that runs the length of the shop.
The counter is clad in translucent sheets of polycarbonate and lit from within by 28 tube lights that make the bar glow white.
"Our challenge was to come up with a design that could attract people that pass by and yet communicate to be something completely different to its neighbours," the architects told Dezeen.
The architects came up with the idea to install lighting within the countertop as the low ceiling height meant traditional light fittings would create clutter.
"Since the space is tiny, we proposed to focus on a single feature. The element also plays with the idea of a reception desk, familiar from pharmacies, but then pushed to an extreme,” the architects told Dezeen.
Bottles of water and vitamin drinks are displayed behind the counter on long folded-metal shelves with integrated LED lighting that gives the product a clinical blue glow against the stark white walls.
A mirror positioned at the end of the bar reflects the light and linear design of the store to give an illusion of greater space.
"We decided to play with this idea of light, as it is already the most important aesthetic feature of the area evening," they said.
Staff in lab coats dispense the medicinal-looking drinks from the shelves, which span between two white columns, over the counter.