When Ben & Jerry’s opened its doors in mid-April, on the famous tree-lined Omotesando Boulevard in Tokyo, Japanese customers got a taste of the past and a look at the future. Tesser, the San Francisco studio that created the 30th anniversary design concept for the company's flagship store in Burlington, Vermont, repeated its success in Tokyo, capturing the unique Ben & Jerry's design and vibe.
Tesser’s biggest challenge was building a brand presence in an overstimulated city. Tokyo, home to roughly thirteen million people, is a command center for the global economy; it’s an important market to build brand awareness for Ben & Jerry’s worldwide. The flagship store, with its street-facing entrance framed by Tokyo's premiere shopping mall, Omotesando Hills by architect Tadao Ando, is the key to establishing Ben & Jerry’s as a quality product. With a smaller footprint than the flagship scoop shop in Vermont, Tesser also had to be strategic in its approach to showcasing what makes Ben & Jerry's different—its quality and its heritage of two real guys with a passion for “Peace, Love & Ice Cream.” The new store swirls 1960s euphoria and a dash of tech for an authentic American experience.
To engage customers in the company’s ice cream-making process, a Flavor Lab offers open views into the kitchen and, in keeping with the US flagship decor that paid homage to the founders’ hippie days, Tesser installed the front end of a 1960s van on the wall with the windows replaced by video screens, a grass green couch with a “rolling hills” backrest, funky milk bottle light fixtures and a “flavor curtain,” made from the lids of pint containers. Customers can read the company’s three-part Social, Product and Economic mission statement
painted on the walls and merchandise is displayed on a five-foot ice cream cone structure with shelves. A live Twitter Ticker runs above the Flavor Lab window, enticing customers to tweet while eating the ice cream that Americans have enjoyed for 30 years.
[photo credits: PIPS Taishi Misonoo/Guillaume Proux (van)]