DDi - October 2013 - (Page 60)
Photos: © Kevin Wu
60 | Right Light
Using elegant lighting, Les Bébés Cupcakery has
visually elevated the cupcake to jewelry status
By Vilma Barr
he exponential demand for cupcakes
in the United States may have reached
its popularity zenith. Cupcake industry
watchers now report that the national fascination
for the handheld treats seems to be ebbing.
But, not so in Taipei, Taiwan, where cupcakes are on the ascent as a bespoke indulgence.
Occupying the slot as top retailer of this specialty is
Les Bébés Cupcakery, operating from a 600-sq.-ft.
space opened last fall. At dusk, the glowing storefront draws customers to the shop on ChaoZhou
Street, a primarily residential area.
Word of Les Bébés Cupcakery spread quickly
throughout the Taipei metro area, home to 6.9
million residents who responded to rave reviews
in the press that a purveyor of world-class cupcakes was now in their midst. Designed by J.C.
Architecture, a locally based multidisciplinary
firm, the inviting interior is sleek and sophisticated. A fully glazed storefront is punctuated with
a solid black door.
Johnny Chiu, founding partner of J.C. Architecture, designed the store’s exterior outline with
a traditional pitched roof. “Our inspiration was
the end of a Les Bébés Cupcakery take-away
box,” he says. “We wanted to create a theme that
was derived from an aspect of the actual product. The familiar shape fits into the scale of the
neighborhood and communicates a welcoming
image.” Chiu also repeated the peak roof angles
throughout the interior for the store’s ceiling.
Suspended in the window is a black open-back
frame displaying a pair of cupcakes in a transparent pedestal enclosed case. Passersby have a clear
view to the all-white, yellow-accented interior.
Artfully iced cupcakes in 10 different varieties
(in mini and standard sizes) are arranged under
a glass showcase like a still-life painting. They
stand out in relief against the white surroundings
of white laminate flooring, walls and ceiling of
white ash with mosaic tile added for the walls,
and Ariston white marble countertops.
Chui designed the overhead lighting to accent
the artistry of the cupcakes in their contemporary,
museum-like setting. Above and behind the counter is track lighting with 17 MR-16 spotlights, rated
at 6-watt, 3000K. For ambient illumination, Chui
specified the same adjustable lamp contained in
both circular- and square-shape recessed housings.
On the wall facing the counter, a series of display shelves have open backs that reveal small
square tiles. Illumination is beamed to reflect off
the white walls onto the shelf surfaces.
In front of the store is a wall-mounted
counter for patrons who wish to enjoy their cupcakes before leaving. Underneath is an LED strip
that provides a subtle glow.
Along the wall between the counter and the
shelf display group, Chui extended an open
floor-to-ceiling horizontal shelf system for bottles. Above is a square skylight rimmed with T5,
4-ft. fluorescent tubes, turned on during evening
hours. “The store stays open until 8 p.m.,” Chui
says. “It’s become a popular cupcake-for-dessert
destination in Taipei.”
To email this article, visit www.ddionline.com/magazine.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - October 2013
DDi - October 2013
From the Editor
Restoration Hardware (RH)
State of the Retail Design Industry 2013
DDi - October 2013