Full renovation of the 150-square-foot Xocolatti flagship store, located at 72 Prince Street in SoHo.




Xocolatti, a new luxury chocolate brand which defines itself as ‘chocolate re-imagined,’ opened its first flagship location in New York City’s SoHo in 2011. Working with a 150 square-foot space, our primary strategy for renovation entailed eliminating the traditional barrier of a storefront and window display, instead creating an interactive vitrine-like space that seamlessly integrates with the streetscape.

The store’s walls are lined with custom-designed, floor-to-ceiling bronze shelving systems that are structured around the multiple variations of sizes of the iconic green and brown chocolate boxes. The wall, functioning as both storage and display, permits bold graphic patterns embedded in the architecture. For instance, as customers select and remove their favorite chocolate boxes from the wall, a new visual pattern emerges, making the design of the store unique at the end of each day. This interaction between customer and display provides an animating narrative to the presentation of the store throughout the day, as gaps in the wall reveal the most popular flavors and offer an account of daily sales.

In this project, de-spec collaborated with Damian Totman and Exit Creative Company to produce the brand identity of this new company. Acting as both designer and developer, de-spec put together a strong team of craftsmen to produce and install the new display system and its components using CNC, laser cutting and casting of various bronze metalworks. Working with Exit, we created the glowing light boxes which feature each product, with a layer of information over the grid to allow the customer a more clear reading of flavors and product descriptions. The Xocolatti project reflects a merging of creative disciplines to engineer a functional, well-designed retail space, and develop a brand identity. The intersection of architecture, environmental design and graphic design, specifically, not only informs the design and layout of the store, but also the systems and operations of the store itself, including the overall staff and customer experience.