PERLAN ICE CREAM
Reykjavik, Iceland, 2020
Words by Davide Perottoni
Pictures by Patrik Ontkovic
An abstract ice cave defines the character for the Perlan Ice Cream in Reykjavík.
Atelier Tobia Zambotti was tasked to design a bold identity for the new ice cream parlor within the Perlan Museum of Reykjavík. The result is ceiling formed in acoustic foam which draws the eye of the visitor in a kaleidoscopic composition of shapes and colours. The design addresses the brief with one simple and economic gesture creating a space which is enveloping and ever changing. The repetitive design of the foam pyramids dropping from the ceiling like geometric stalactites creates an optical illusion which pulls the visitor towards the focal point of the ice cream trays, the only elements that breaks from the stark white and blue palette which defines the whole space.
In a single sweep - pun intended - the ceiling defines the atmosphere of the space and guides the design of all other elements. As a commercial attraction within one of Iceland’s most visited museums, the brief had a strong emphasis on a design that would attract people and interact with them. In the age of Instagram the designer had to find a simple solution which would interact with its users while defining a clear and recognisable identity. Inspired by the caves found in glaciers and the ever changing reflections and colours within them, the pattern of the ceiling declines this natural image in an iconic design feature. This is reinforced by the stainless steel back-counter which reflects led strips tuned to a cool 4500K light.
While the ceiling is the highly visible element that characterises the space it also defines the design principles behind every other element. From the full arch BOH door that follows the shape of the ceiling to the white corian counter, another element of the reimagined glacier. All the technical requirements are also resolved following the same ethos. Cashier and all other clutter are hidden from view within the counter and the noise of the fridges is attenuated by the foam prisms of the ceiling.
Perlan Museum celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of the Icelandic landscape while employing engaging design to convey this to a wide and diverse audience. The Perlan Ice Cream parlor embraces this approach by marrying bold contemporary design with ideas and features from the landscape it is there to support.