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The newly re-opened Simon Lévelt store on the Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam is all about exploring the world of tea and coffee, but most of all your own taste. A contemporary retail space no longer centred around over-the-counter sales, but instead an open invitation for tea and coffee lovers to come in and explore their personal preferences. With the company being passed down through six generations, Simon Lévelt has had a presence on Dutch high streets for almost two hundred years. The brand has built its reputation by showing an evident passion for sourcing the best coffee beans and tea leaves from every corner of the globe.

Yet previous shop set-ups have proven ill-equipped to actually demonstrate this to customers. With today’s coffee and tea drinkers taking interest in everything from product origin to different brewing techniques, our task was to develop a concept with a strong focus on storytelling and with plenty of room for exploration. Furthermore, we wanted to create a look and feel to really fit the Simon Lévelt philosophy of purity and quality without concession.

For this, we carefully considered our choice of materials, finding a balance between durable and refined elements, such as laminated wood cabinets – strong enough to withstand intensive use – coupled with brass fittings for an artisanal finish. It is all about keeping the balance and amplifying the stories behind the tea and coffee worlds. Stepping inside the new store, shoppers are surrounded by offerings from the world’s finest plantations. Staying on brief to cater to both tea and coffee drinkers in equal measure, we designed two distinct product areas, each with its own display wall featuring tea and coffee aroma samplers for an extra sensory experience.

These worlds come together in two central islands, where customers are encouraged to discover their taste in tea or coffee, and where Simon Lévelt product specialists have room to share the stories and practices behind individual products. And according to managing director Mikkel Levelt, that’s exactly what this design update is all about: “Creating a space to go on an adventure is the experience we want to bring to our Simon Lévelt stores. Through sight, smell and taste.”

Design: Tchai
Photographer: Ewout Huibers

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