It is not everyday that one has an opportunity to shop for cakes and sweets while immersed in a pastry-like interior. Less Willy Wonka, more Alice in Wonderland, however, Bluarch’s design for the fit-out of the popular Omonia cafe’s bakery in Astoria, draws on elements of the sweet fare to enhance the experience the buying the flavourful goodies. “Omonia is an establishment,” said architect Antonio di Oronzo of New York-based Bluarch, who has worked with the Greek family-run business on many of its shops. “We wanted to make it fluid, sexy, somewhat familiar and decadent, like sweets.”
Made famous on the Hollywood scene for its contribution to the cake in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Omonia’s owner, John Arvanitis, decided to grow his cafe empire and focus on the bakery. The 1,000 square foot shop features an undulating light fixture that runs like a curling spine of bubbles through to the back of the space creating an intimate and cavernous interior. The amorphous form is made up of 6-inch incandescent bulbs in glass tubes fixed to the ceiling, from which fishing wire has been attached to support 4 inch-wide red cedar wood spheres. Swathed in chocolate brown mosaic tiles, with a honey-coloured ceiling feature and off-white epoxy floor, the interior is as close to a pastry interior as one can get without the short crust. At the back of the shop a glass box kitchen area is nestled in the corner to show off the baker’s craft. “It is literal and simple,” said di Oronzo. “It is important to make a quick connection between brand and space.” Even Alice wouldn’t mind getting stuck in this rabbit hole.