Mathieu Lehanneur is pleased to present his latest project, the first flagship store for high-end chocolatier Maison Cailler at the Nestlé subsidiary's headquarters in Broc, Switzerland. The 60m2 building also serves as a visitor center, where guests can sample the goods to determine one's "individual 'chocolate personalities' or that of your loved ones to offer formulas best suited to your taste." The forward-thinking French designer has appropriated " the local tradition of 'tavillon,' the wooden Swiss tiles... to design an armadillo structure."
Where the material suggests an exotic creature curled into a scaly ball—a "protective yurt," as Lehanneur puts it—the main entrance alludes to, um, gastromimetic inspiration, as the glass storefront resembles a radially-sliced wheel of gruyère. (The description refers to the latter as "the other regional specialty"; we're assuming l'autre one is chocolate, not the more outré mammalian reference point, which are indigenous to South America.)
As for the "chocolate personality" bit, visitors are invited to partake in five samples to "lead [them] towards the formulas which will most closely satisfy [their] stress-related food cravings." We can't confirm if the "laboratory protocol" prescribed by Lehanneur is double blind in the interest of the scientific method, but the pseudo-experimental approach should come as no surprise as another manifestation of the designer's longtime fascination with science.
Indeed, we've seen several of Lehanneur's projects in the past, including a couple of space-age designs for the Centre Pompidou—one for children and one for teens
an indoor river and most recently the Strates desk for Objekten at Maison & Objet.
We also chanced upon a new Lehanneur-designed product at the recent NYIGF: the "Take Time!" wrist/pocketwatch. The playful silicone strap can be looped around as a slip knot or slotted around the circumference of the face as a watch band.
The "Take Time!" watch is available at Lexon retailers (no Stateside stockists as of press time; hopefully they'll be available for the holidays, if the Gift Fair went well...)
Hat-tip to Design Indaba