June 29th, 2013 – “We like to think of our interventions as positive manipulation of the human brain,” Paulo Merlini, founder of Portugal-based architecture firm Paulo Merlini Arquitectura explained of their recently completed Bakery In Oporto. “We focus on giving positive inputs to appeal to all the five senses (when possible) so that we can alter ones homeostatic level, and as result make people feel happier.”
The architect tends to approach his work with a mixture of research and philosophy, which manifests metaphysical environments that keep functionality well intact. “Our main concern is to create spaces that gives people the right stimuli, positively influencing their homeostatic levels.” Merlini continued, “this is a concern based in the notion that we´re the product of an evolution. As such, we focus on the knowledge of the human body, mainly on the brain response to exterior stimuli.”
The light filled spaces is comprised of a repeating gang of thin laser-cut wood slats on the ceiling and walls. The cream colored slats become the architectural highlight of the bakery because of its sculptural disposition and alluring lighting effects that gives the space a magical glow.
Each slat separated by a mere four inches, became a moment of opportunity for Merlini as he proposed a new logo for the bakery and saw the perfect place to showcase it. “Wooden stripes descend through two of the walls creating an effect that dialogs directly with the consumer. When one moves throw space, hidden forms start to appear on the walls. Those forms are an abstraction of the proposed logo. The intention is to unconsciously reinforce the image of the firm in one’s mind.”
Merlini’s chiseled ceiling functions seamlessly with the lighting of the space, along with the bakery’s new branding and identity initiative. But, the architect had another, more playful, reason for creating the sculptural slats, “we made the ceiling ‘melt’ in some points to make it look like a cake topping,” Merlini noted.
The harmoniously designed space is separated into three sections, each evoking a slightly different feeling. The intention of this method was to create a space where diners would be able to choose a place that parallels their personal comfort levels. One thing we are sure of, when it comes to scarfing down a succulent cupcake, personal comfort is essential.