This small pastry shop, located in one of Zagreb's many new shopping malls, is an interesting product of the creative collaboration between conceptual artist Ivana Franke and architect Petar Mišković. They relieved a dull row of shops in a shopping mall with an inverted retail space. Breaking away from the common practice of 'filling' a void with something that aspires to be different, but is actually more of the same, they opted for a conceptually 'emptied' frame, replacing the usual tasteless extravaganza of colours and material with almost nothing.
The pastry shop space – the void enclosed by walls, floor and ceiling with the pastry display window in focus – is a truncated pyramid. The white surfaces of the spatial frame, the channels with neon tubes, the shelf counter and the orange signboard saying 'piece of cake' have been designed by applying the foreshortening perspective principle. This ancient tool for depicting architecture serves here in the construction of architecture not as space, but as a framed image.
The constructed image draws customers in through the white frame, directing their gaze towards the luminous glass display window with its colourful cakes. Behind it is a dark space of indeterminate depth; this area is reserved for the shop assistants. The only piece of furniture in the white front space is a counter at the side of the picture's frame, which is level with the line of the constructed perspective. Thanks to the sloping floor, both short and tall customers will find a place along this counter to suit them while they consume a cake or two. Another functional addition to the perspective picture is contained in the 'piece of cake' signboard at the opposite side of the frame. The signboard is also part of the perspective trick, which becomes obvious when the door to which it is attached is opened. The closed door is a neutral part of the white frame, while the opened door underlines the constructed depth of the picture. At night, when the shop is closed, with the interior lighting on and the mesh screen pulled across the entrance, the 'perspective space' literally turns into a flat image with an inscription, similar to an ad on a white plastic neon-lit box.
The expression 'piece of cake', which has become a part of local urban slang (which is a mixture of local dialect, archaisms and global Anglicisms), denotes lightness and ease, but does not necessarily imply a lack of seriousness. It is the perfect name for the image described here – a minimalist joke with serious intent, which we enter to get our piece of cake.
Eating & Drinking, Shopping, Words |