Tapping into Asian consumers' growing appetite for confectionery, Antwerp-based chocolate brand BbyB has unveiled its first store-plus-café beyond Belgium, in Tokyo's central shopping and entertainment district of Ginza.
Japan is currently the largest confectionery market in Asia – with more than 2.0 kg of chocolate consumption per capita per year, according to 2014 findings from UK market research firm Canadean. Meanwhile, demand for chocolate in the Asia-Pacific region is forecast to grow at twice the global rate until 2017, according to London-based market research firm Euromonitor, making it a key market for retailers to invest in.
Conceived by prolific Japanese design agency Nendo (see our profile for more), the long and narrow space boasts a laboratory-like aesthetic with clean white interiors and brightly coloured product packaging. Items are presented neatly in translucent, stacked drawers that cut through the centre of the space like a sleek museum display case. For more examples of laboratory-esque retail spaces, see the Hyper Play Space & The Wonders of Science section in our Confection Destinations report, and Scientifically Styled Spaces.
To boost dwell time, the rear of the space hosts a café area that's also used for tastings – painted all black to contrast with the clinical feel of the front part of the store, and to reflect the design of BbyB's signature black packaging.