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Kori Ice Cream by EAT – an ode to kawaii aesthetics

Kori Ice Cream by EAT – an ode to kawaii aesthetics


The Kori Ice Cream world on Glenferrie Road in Melbourne reimagined by EAT Architecture, is as unique and brave from the outside as it is from the inside.

Ice cream shops are what dreams are made of and where childhood memories are created. 

EAT Architecture’s design team had this in mind all throughout their creative process for this Japanese-inspired ice cream parlour.

Kori Ice Cream’s facade is asymmetrically salmon-striped, catching the eye of passers-by and shoppers.

By continuing the vibrant stripe on the exterior of the building, it ensures that the shop benefits from its distinctive identity on the competitive Glenferrie Road, as well as on the saturated ice cream scene. 

The stripe brings the presence of the Heritage façade back into conversation with the lively street.

When one steps in this eccentric and bold space, whose style matches with the flavours on offer, one feels the focus on a traditional Japanese palette with a contemporary interpretation.

The galvanised steel island bench is the main protagonist of the project. 

This piece of joinery is meticulously planned to house all of the equipment, ice cream, cutlery, electronics and storage. 

The omission of typical perspex screens creates an intimate experience between staff and customers. 

The counter design took a lot of physical, real scale prototyping to get right, however, understanding human interaction down to the finest detail allowed the studio to produce a truly empathetic design. 

Once a customer enters the store, the staff never have to turn their back to finish serving the customer, everything they need is housed in the bench.

The counter becomes a physical representation of the brand values of Japanese hospitality. 

“The design needed to connect the physical store to the menu and brand values,” according to the studio. 

“Situated on the already eccentric Glenferrie road, we referenced Japanese kawaii culture and the hyperpop music movement to create a graphically and visually strong space.

“Peering into the store is like staring at a poster you might see plastered along laneways; street art and curb side poster art were critical references for the design process.”

The word kawaii, besides being perfectly adapted to describe this place worthy of our oneiric universes, has that in common that it is exotic and popular.

“Kawaii” is indeed a lifestyle and a state of mind, as it denotes a Japanese artistic and cultural style that emphasizes the quality of cuteness, using bright colours and characters with a childlike appearance.

This is the DNA of Kori Ice Cream – an ice cream boudoir that feels temporary and playful.  

“Through the dramatic use of colour, we created a space that almost feels 2D – like a street poster,” says EAT Architecture’s design team. 

“We invite patrons to take a step off the pavement and become a part of the art. 

“The customer experience is curated intentionally to align with the Japanese mindset of hospitality centered around care rather than transaction.”

Photography: Shannon McGrath

If you are an aficionado of spaces benefitting from an upbeat appeal with playfulness, make sure to have a look at Cera Stribley’s fun-loving flagship store for the memo.


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