If year-out students aren't flocking to work for Richard Hywel Evans they should think again. This is one of the few offices in town where drawing the reflected ceiling plan is a plum job. Evans views ceilings as blank canvasses on which he can exercise his fondness for weird and wonderful shapes. At Crussh, a new arrival on the increasingly competitive juice-bar scene, the ceiling-raft is a long splodge of hand-carved styrofoam which conceals lighting and projection systems, but, more importantly, relates to the amorphous shapes of fittings and furniture in the rest of the shop. These, in turn, relate to the signage, the corporate logo, and graphics used for the in-house television channel, Crussh tv.
This uniformity is due, in part, to the fact that as lead consultant, Richard Hywel Evans Architecture & Design chose and co-ordinated all members of the design team, making it possible for graphics and interiors to be part of a single coherent design which the retailer could 'roll out' as and when properties were acquired.
Evans and the client were in agreement that the corporate identity should 'move as far away as possible from the association of juice bars with woolly jumpers and organic stuff', and established a vocabulary combination of zinging colours and organic curves. The combinations seems appropriately 'fizzy' for a juice bar, but is also characteristic of the architect, with clear similarities to work carried out by Richard Hywel Evans for Sweatshop (aj 26.2.98 and 25.6.98).
Having established a blueprint, the hunt was on for a shop. Cornhill Street in the City of London was chosen, partly because it is a busy pedestrian route, but also because of the appeal of posing a challenge to Seattle, Coast, and Coffee Republic which all have outlets within 75m on the same street. Confronted with the Grade II-listed 38m2 shop, rhe's original plans became a little more subdued. Proposals for a brightly back-lit facade with bubbling juice in the air-gap of the double-glazing were swiftly (and predictably) vetoed by the planners, and the team had to content itself with painting the shopfront purple, writing crussh in gold-leaf lettering, and designing psychedelic graphics for the modesty panel in the window onto the street. Customers help themselves to snacks displayed behind coloured perspex, and order juice from the multi-coloured counter. Those in a hurry can sit on tractor seats at a street at a counter of polished American walnut which overlooks the street, while at the back of the shop, the more leisurely can lounge on seats made from a patchwork of red, green, blue and yellow leather, and relax in front of Crussh tv.
The overall effect is of an exuberance which borders on vulgarity, and is particularly welcome in the stuffy context of the City. Expect to see more of Crussh soon - five further units are planned within the next year.