It is said that black swans are rare. This is no longer the case in Beijing, even though they are sweetmeats: the recently opened “Black Swan” patisserie offers bakery goods made to the highest standards. These are displayed in an interior inspired by a snowy winter landscape – with contrast-rich lighting created by ERCO Optec spotlights.
It is well-known that the gastronomic traditions of Europe and Asia differ, and this also applies to the high art of pastry shops. In Asia elaborate decorations are deemed to be particularly important: in contrast to Europe, a guest would prefer to offer a bought and decorated cake for a celebration rather than a home-made and therefore perhaps not quite so perfect cake. The pastry products of the Black Swan patisserie in Beijing are almost breathtaking. In accordance with its name, the sweet delicacies are frequently decorated with swans of sugar icing and their contours have a curved, filigree appearance as if drawn by a calligrapher.
A Beijing patisserie with sensational cakes
Black Swan is the new luxury brand of Holiland, a chain of bakery stores in China. The first branch recently opened in Beijing. The retail outlet mainly offers exclusive bakery goods culminating in multilevel wedding cakes. The creations displayed in showcases attract the covetous glances of food connoisseurs while customers can select lower-cost baked goods themselves from the shelves. The pastries and cookies are either packed in quality boxes for taking away or can be eaten in the café area.
A corporate design similar to Chinese landscape painting
The Black Swan brand surprises with a rather poetic corporate design. The logo consists of two black swans on a white background, and both the motif and black-and-white look can be found throughout the store design. A photo of two black swans in a snowy landscape with a sweeping branch and dark lake is depicted across the area of two walls, and its reduced composition is reminiscent of traditional Chinese landscape painting that mainly aims to catch moods and inspire a sense of contemplation in the viewer. The walls, floor, ceiling and furniture are also either black or white, and the theme of a swan even decorates furnishings and fitments such as the cake forks.
Interior design in black and white with contrast-rich lighting
The black ceiling is given a sense of structure with track. ERCO Optec spotlights create light points achieving high contrast against the dark background, and without causing any glare for customers. The light spots emphasise and highlight the showcases and shelving displaying the goods. Narrow spot or oval flood light distributions are used according to the size of the display. The baked goods appear especially attractive thanks to the high quality of the ERCO LED light along with its very good colour rendering, brilliance and precision.
Dark surfaces – for example bread and chocolate coatings – are illuminated with 3000K because warm white light emphasises the effect of warm red tones, and bright, cool surfaces – such as the vibrant glazes – are displayed with neutral white 4000K. Despite the lighting, no increases in temperature are generated in the showcases due to optimum thermal management of the luminaire housings, thereby avoiding any damage to the cakes. Highlights are also created on tables to achieve an intimate coffee house atmosphere, inviting the guests to relax and stay.
Lighting design: Beijing Zhouhongliang Lighting Design
Photography: Sebastian Mayer © ERCO GmbH