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Samba Swirl Frozen Yoghurt, Camden, London

Issue 76 December / January 2014 : Retail : Food Outlet

ARCHITECT: Mizzi Studios LIGHTING DESIGN: Mizzi Studios

Samba Swirl transforms getting frozen yogurt into an adventure. Inspired by the facades of Brazilian favelas, Mizzi Studios have developed an exciting interior, which is both welcoming and surprisingly warm.

Frozen yogurt chain Samba Swirl recently appointed design agency Mizzi Studios to completely refresh their identity, using their new Camden store as the template for their rebranding launch.
Samba Swirl became the first self-service yoghurt chain in the UK when the first cafe opened in April 2011 and has since carved out a reputation based around fun, health, energy.

Recognising and wishing to utilise the power of LED lighting, along with the evolution of digital manufacturing, Samba Swirl has developed a vibrant attitude towards food with social interaction, offering their customers a glimpse of the new and exciting trends found in the world of interior design.

Together with Mizzi Studios they conceived the new ‘Samba’ by transporting the excitement and tempo of a Brazilian carnival straight to the high street. Inspired by the vibrantly geometric painted facades of the favelas in Rio De Janeiro, coupled with delicious delicacies derived from Southern American roots, the new interior of Samba Swirl captures the spirit of the carnival and sets it in to a uniquely modern context.

When you enter the store you immediately notice the pulsating LED light emanating from every plane of the shop’s walls, floor, the light even towards the store’s front fascia. The LED primarily functions as a way-finder system that directs customers in and around the store and takes you on a fantastically colourful frozen yoghurt voyage.

However, the lighting here has more purpose than sole function: the criss-crossed LED blazing routes forms one of the key feature design elements of the store.

After being lured in by the lighting, customers arrive before a series of timber cladded frozen yoghurt cubicles set upon a dark trowelled micro concrete floor, which are reminiscent of the shacks found on the streets of Brazil. This is where the ‘Swirl’ element of the store’s moniker presents itself to the ever eager yoghurt patron. Infrared red sensors sit astride the yoghurt pump handles so the swirling yoghurt motion, as a new dessert is created, triggers a myriad of pulsing LED lights around the store.

Before being guided to the weigh and pay station, customers then make a pit stop to decorate their froyo’s at the gigantic steel diamond island, a faceted iceberg filled with deliciously fresh fruit toppings.

The bespoke toppings island takes the literal meaning of the word ‘frozen’ to a new level forming an ice-like crystal centrepiece which interacts with the feature lighting by reflecting colour all over its textured stainless steel planes.

After weighing and paying, customers then step off the concrete onto a clearly demarcated timber floored customer seating zone. Sitting on timber stools set under a cluster of copper, brass and steel Tom Dixon ‘Void’ pendants, the animated LED echoes its reflections in between each pendant and a purposely placed back mirror fully opens up the feature ceiling. This whole scene is set in front of a fluorescent orange back wall which appears like the sun, creating a welcoming escape from the cold wintery streets of London.

“We are fortunate to have clients such as Samba Swirl that really want to explore the boundaries of design,” comments Jonathan Mizzi, studio director at Mizzi Studios. “The Samba Camden store is a great example that investment on high quality, creative lighting and interior design can pay financial dividends. Swarms of customers are being lured in to the store off the Camden High Street, attracted by a creative lighting design.”

The lighting feature comprises 100m of programmable LED Strip Lights with each LED chip being individually addressable. Mizzi Studios worked closely with the programmers of InStyle LED tape to create a bespoke lighting control system capable of tapping in to a high degree of LED resolution thus allowing the designers to animate at a very intricate level, a level never been seen before on London’s high street.

On top of this kinetic playback, the lighting system boasts a sound reactive mode for weekend party evenings, and an interactive mode for happy hour. There are also separate fruit colour programmes that can be related to any particular fruit or flavour on promotion.

“Getting the programming right was critical,” comments Mizzi. “The last thing we wanted was to send every customer mad and stick them in something akin to a spinning slot machine, so we composed multiple rhythms with slow pulsing intervals in between the more animated scenes, constantly refreshing the element of surprise, in a subtle manner. Lighting really has the power to completely transform environments and with the advancements in LED coupled with sensory technology there has never been such an exciting time to blend architecture with light. Samba Camden is testament to this.”


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