3 High-Design Ice Cream Shops

3 High-Design Ice Cream Shops

Not your average shake shacks, these three parlours are a demonstration in elevated ice cream shop design. 

As the season for scoops and cones winds down, feast your eyes on these three ice cream shop designs, where the spaces look as good as the offerings taste.



1 Mister in Vancouver, British Columbia
An operation that churns decadent ice cream from liquid nitrogen requires an interior that’s slightly slicker than the average scoop shop. Vancouver’s Scott & Scott Architects delivered for Mister, a recently opened storefront in the city’s Yaletown neighbourhood. The team transformed the loading dock of a converted early-1900s warehouse into a space that recalls both the building’s industrial history and the new ice cream–making method.

The brickwork was whitewashed and, in the production area, given a coat of thick gloss paint. The existing concrete slab floor, left over from the space’s previous tenants, was ground and left unpolished. The white-and-grey palette is interrupted by linear floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets, built from douglas fir plywood, then spray-misted with dye to achieve a faded burnt umber hue.

The countertop, dotted with a row of KitchenAid mixers in complementary shades of charcoal, burgundy and mustard, is made of soapstone sourced from a Quebec quarry. The material can withstand the thermal shock that can occur when working with the -196C nitrogen used to create Mister’s frozen treats. Behind the counter, in the food preparation area, a steel island has a galvanized finish that inspires “memories of cold from childhood,” according to the architects, and the experience of “sticking your tongue to the steel guard on a ski lift.”


2 Coolhaus in Pasadena, California
Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, the architect and design duo behind Design, Bitches, have a reputation for creating vibrant, unstuffy interiors for eateries in Los Angeles and surrounding cities. They’re responsible for the two brick-and-mortar locations of Coolhaus – makers of architecture-inspired frozen treats, with names like Norman Bananas Foster – including this location in Pasadena, completed in August 2013.

In the central eating area, bench seating and an adjacent wall were treated to a shocking green, high-gloss paint. Behind the counter, a black-and-white graphic treatment of jumbled bubble letters is punctuated by the spelling out of Coolhaus in fuschia – one of the brand colours. The outlined text is a “subtle homage to pop artists like Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg,” say the designers.


3 Village Ice Cream in Calgary, Alberta
In 2015, Canadian architecture and design firm McKinley Burkart devised an airy, mint-accented interior for Village Ice Cream’s second storefront, in Calgary’s Britannia neighbourhood. When approached to design the small-batch ice cream brand’s third location, the firm decided on a slightly moodier aesthetic.

Black wood-panelled walls and black marble tile are broken up by the retro powder blue-tiled bar, topped with a brass counter. Brass is also found on solid wood bench seating, which tucks beneath a large-scale abstract painting by Calgary artist Megan Jentsch.


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