The new outpost of Il Laboratorio del Gelato glows on a corner of the Lower East Side. COOLER was conceived as the ideal working space for producing the company’s finely crafted gelato. HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) designed the 2,500-square foot interior by riffing off the company’s clean and minimal brand philosophy. A series of floor-to-ceiling windows along Ludlow Street allows pedestrians to observe all the steps of the production process, from delivery of fresh milk and fruits to the sale of the ice cream cone.
Inside, the architects installed a custom backlit polycarbonate ceiling that underscores the purity of the space and achieves an ambient glow—most akin to the light from an open refrigerator. Bench seating lines front walls, and customers at the counter can peer into the open prep area and see exactly what the gelato technicians are mixing (twice the number of flavors of the original Orchard Street location). On a busy corner of Ludlow and Houston, just across from Katz’s Deli, this new gelato factory effectively provides a stage for both the product and its makers. As HWKN partner Marc Kushner explains, “We strived to create the ultimate blank canvas—a giant white out.”