Count on it: 1 or 2 Cafe by Norm.Architects, The Netherlands

Snapshot: 1 or 2 is a hugely collaborative effort, drawing on the original First or Second design aesthetic, pulling inspiration from the MENU products available there, and taking the team from Norm.Architects as well as April and May Interior design on board to create the finishing touches. Each brought their own individual style to the table, and it is clear that they were on a very similar wavelength, by the coherence and consistency of the design throughout.

Norm was founded in 2008, and took the name "norm" to announce their ultimate defiance "normal" and their ability to challenge preconceptions and translate tradition into the modern world. As is the Nordic way, they pride themselves on fine craftsmanship and durable materials that will stand the test of time, and outlive the trivial nature of temporary trends. The result is a lot of bright, white space with contrasting natural materials in strong form, sharp lines and bold color. April and May follow a similar aesthetic with a lot of monochrome and a strong presence of materials in their raw, natural state, delicately complimented by soothing patterns and gentle tones. Put these two together, and 1 + 1 = 1 or 2. Math, got it?

The space glows with whitewash walls, ceilings and floors, creating a box-like illusion without box-like constraints. The space feels open, wide, airy and breezy. Accents range from pale wood counter-tops and display units to black and stone tables with the occasional appearance of steel flatware. The theme is largely monochrome and minimalist, interspersed with April & May pattern work. This is the ideal space to sit and soothe, enjoying a White Label Coffee after perusing the shelves of MENU products. Perhaps a spell of meditation and some generally zen-like behavior. You must also never raise your voice above a whisper unless absolutely necessary. 

There is a resounding sense of calm, as the team have been hugely influenced by Japanese and Scandinavian culture. Open, spacious, light and fresh, the cafe operates as the ideal dessert having dined on the First or Second store, to re-calibrate the mind and to brace oneself for any further shopping experiences which are bound to be less relaxing. 

Norm strive to create the abnormal, and here we have a store where the term "retail therapy" finally makes sense, as the natural progression from purchase to repose becomes truly therapeutic.

Photography courtesy of Norm.Architects