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Taking chocolate very, very seriously, newly founded Hong Kong-based brand CACAOLAB clearly acknowledges the added value of retail to shed light on its artisanal creations, opening a retail space in the city’s Causeway Bay shopping area. And it’s one with a number of cool extras. Offering a cacao bean-to-bar product range, the CACAOLAB store occupies three floors of an existing building on Pak Sha Road. The façade, dipped in a pitch black hue, is inspired by the geometric forms found in the CACAOLAB logo, which itself, quite obviously, references cacao beans. The ground floor storefront is stuccoed with two arched openings, while the upper façade is composed of a grid of square tiles with various embedded geometric shapes, creating a monogram effect. Upon entering the premises, shoppers find themselves in the CACAOLAB store which is has been concepted as a laboratory for chocolate innovation, featuring walls painted in grey metallic paint and a counter and service station captured entirely by stainless steel.

A striking detail are the wall-mounted steel display units brimming with colourful merchandise. Next to CACAOLAB‘s product range, some of which freshly baked, the menu lists ice cream and a range of coffee concoctions. At the far end, an all-green staircase lit by linear lights encased in perforated metal panels, leads upstairs where an equally understated yet welcoming café can be found. A continuous wooden element functions as a bench, table top, and planter wraps around the existing white walls. Custom-designed circular tables and stools dot the space, allowing versatile configurations. CACAOLAB‘s second floor is home to the Cacao Museum, a space perceived as a dark gallery and lounge where a cacao-inspired exhibition is held. On display are materials including replicas of artefacts imported from South America are organised sequentially to educate visitors about the origin of cacao, the history of cacao trading, and different cacao types. Embedded in the space is a marble-clad tasting bar.

Photography: Xu Liang Leon


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