The blurring of the fine line between retail, leisure and entertainment is one of the features of many shopping districts and malls at the moment, and the newly opened Lavazza in Milan is a case in point.
Lavazza, for non-coffee-lovers and those still entrenched in the 20th century, is an Italian coffee brand.
The Milan store, designed by UK consultancy JHP Design, aims to educate, divert and push the boundaries of our understanding of a caffeine-laced drink.
Practically, this means a bar at the centre of the shop with a chandelier composed of 640 shiny coffee beans in two sizes, and four different areas that celebrate the hot beverage and its production.
For the curious, coffee caviar, foam, cocktails and ‘unexpected solid products’ are all on offer, as well as good old-fashioned roasted and ground coffee.
To the uninformed eye, this might look like a ritzy coffee bar, and it is certainly that, but it is also a shop and is symptomatic of the move towards experience increasingly being experimented with by brands and retailers.