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Awestruck and how!

Vjmedia Works | April 10, 2014

It's a case of donning dual identities at The Vienna branch of Ströck chain of bakeries . A dine-in bakery by day and a bar by night; Ströck Feierabend draws a larger customer base with the'fun' feature added to a simple dine-in bakery concept. A fusion of the two was at the core of the design approach that went into creating the space.

With a view to explore a hybrid space, Ströck had to come up with a new business model for Ströck Feierabend in terms of its menu as well as interior architecture. Bread, the core of a bakery format, was the concept ingredient for the menu design. The bakery dine-in menu opted for accompaniments with the bread such as soups, salads or cut meats. The evening menu complemented the mood with pizzas or varieties of cheese which would chaperon the wine. "We knew from our close working partnership with the client the values of their business, their raison d'etre, the sense of community, their passion and expertise in all things bakery and the need for a commercially successful new store concept. Bread had to be at the core so it was a case of building the experience around it and developing a concept that enabled them to trade from a bigger than normal footprint,” said Austin McGinley, Director of Client Services at JHP Design.

The space housing this combo also had to do justice to the ideas propagated. Two neighbouring unconnected stores had to be fused into one single space which had hybrid features and yet function harmoniously. Industrial hints can be seen across the design of the store. The facade was done up in way which would establish Ströck as part of the neighbourhood with its cement finishes and also highlight its industrial references with the metal frames. Put it all together and you get an image of a classic urban bakery. Deep accents of Viennese traditional architecture give the entry a local flavour and a warm welcome to the dual world of Ströck.

The signature feature is a form long bar platform that extends right from the bakery to the evening zone. This bar strikes a multipurpose chord creating a comfort zone to sip a cup of coffee as well as relax with a pint of Austrian beer. The copper bar counter and the glass jar lights dancing above seem to be in a dialogue. These glass jar lights create the aura of a night-time environment. Along with the bar counter, they reveal the new identity Ströck is opting for through Ströck Feierabend. The bar stools put up are not like the usual bar stools commonly seen. They strike middle-ground acknowledging the duality of the space. The furniture design is attuned to the language of both a bakery or a bar. Different types of seating spaces further bear testimony to the duality of the space. High bar tables and stools by the windows help one enjoy a drink accompanied by a whiff of fresh air, while the lower tables at the back present an opportunity for a relaxed dinner experience. The store may function as one space featuring two ideas, but there is a distinction in the serving and dining spaces. Along with options presented to the customers, the space zoning also clarifies the purpose.  

The space as a whole has textures suited for a busy day bakery pick-up or an leisurely evening . The space may not have clear architectural demarcations for different zones as per the change of time; but the mood stirred works its magic. The bar front with bleached timber and stone-clad walls propose neutral finishes to the space. Warm tone tiles in the flooring, match the colour of the bar front setting an even visual vocabulary. The herring-bone format adopted for the tiling suggests a casual nature of the bakery cum bar venture.

This 120 sq. mt. space has a designated blackboard wall with chalk illustrations changing from time to time. This idea was initiated by local artists known to the Ströck family, and who also did the illustrations for the store's opening. The blackboard wall continues as a language through the store.

With the metal-framed windows running along the store periphery the lights within the store are not too strongly lit, especially in the bar and dining area. Angled spotlights are fitted in the ceiling offering a dark texture and completely understated. These spotlights are directed on the bakery counter to focus on the richness of the freshly baked products.

Well, here is a complete package for anyone who just wants to have a good time. You may go there briefly for just a cup of coffee, but the ambience definitely urges you to stay longer and the lip-smacking food is an added bonus of course.  

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