Pretty Cool Ice Cream

Location:  2353 N. California Ave., Chicago, Illinois

Program: Ice Cream Store and Production

Status: Complete

We knew right away when we met with Dana Cree and her partner Michael Ciapciak about the Pretty Cool Ice Cream Flagship Store that it was something we wanted to be involved with. Their excitement for the project was palpable and we could tell that this was going to be a great experience.

The vision for the store revolves around creating a sophisticated and fun place that can accommodate an array of different guests. To set us apart from your standard fare ice cream shop, the team focused in on reinventing the guest experience. Light and playful colors paired with bamboo and dark gray flooring and wainscot create an interesting dichotomy that can be appealing to kid and adult alike.

Patrons interact with the staff (and more importantly, the ice cream) through a jewelry-style display case that is low enough for kids to peek into to see Dana’s beautiful creations. The ‘shell’ around the case is made of a multicolored, thermoformed solid surface, curved to evoke a feeling of melting-ice-cream-deliciousness.

An array of options are provided for people to inhabit the store. You can sit on the sculptural tiered seating element or stand and look out onto California Ave. Built-in banquette seating is also available for patrons that prefer a more traditional respite, as well as those with special needs.

Once you have the flavor of your choice, you can pick a place to hang out on the undulating stadium-style seating or on a banquette under the Pretty Cool sign

The shop is filled with places for people to interact with each other, both digitally (social media), and physically.  Everyone is encouraged to leave their mark, on the large magnet board in the rear of the space adorned with magnetic letters.

The hallway toward the back of the store leads to restrooms, a kiddy size drinking fountain/hand-washing sink, and a large viewing window into the production area.

The project was done entirely in 3d, from design to construction documents.  This allowed Dana and Michael to see the visions of the space so that they really understood what was happening with the design before it was built.  On the fabrication end, Tumu provided detailed 3d models for the construction of geometrically complex items.

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