Keeping Cool: An Architect-Designed Ice Cream Shop in Vancouver


Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver offers the latest dessert craze—ice cream made to order using liquid nitrogen. (The technique has been popular in Asia for some time, say owners Michael Lai and Tommy Choi, and in San Francisco, Smitten Ice Cream is leading the charge.) Unlike readymade ice cream, which requires stabilizers such as eggs, the nitrogen technique mixes only fresh cream and milk with flavorings like sugar, salt, or chocolate. The ice cream, they report, is denser, smoother, and creamier.

At Mister Ice Cream, the act of making is a show in itself; a row of KitchenAid mixers becomes enveloped in a chilly cloud of nitrogen, signaling to customers that newly minted ice cream is close at hand. The shop, designed by Vancouver-based Scott & Scott Architects, is oriented to show off the process.

Photography by Fahim Kassam, except where noted, courtesy of Scott & Scott Architects.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: Mister Ice Cream occupies a 480-square-foot elevated loading dock in a 1912 warehouse in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighborhood. Its designers, Scott & Scott, have designed some of our favorite restaurant spaces in Vancouver, including Kin Kao, Torafuku, and Bestie Currywurst. Photograph by Scott & Scott.

Scott and Scott Architects Mister Ice Cream

Above: Owners Michael Lai and Tommy Choi man the KitchenAid stations.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: The brick walls were whitewashed, and the ice cream-making zone was painted in high-gloss white. The original concrete floors were ground and left unpolished.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: At the back of the store, the architects installed a custom cabinet wall made of Douglas fir plywood, which the architects colored by applying dye with a spray mister in their studio.Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: The working counter is soapstone sourced from Quebec. According to the architects, soapstone was traditionally used in laboratories, partly due to their resistance to thermal shock. (The liquid nitrogen is -196°C, or -320°F.) Photograph by Scott & Scott.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: Steel, wood, and molded leather counter stools of the architects’ design.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: Hanging above the production station are vapor lamps by Canadian industrial lighting manufacturer RAB. The sign announcing today’s flavors is made of dark blue Perspex acrylic.

Mister Ice Cream in Vancouver by Scott & Scott | Remodelista

Above: A wall of glossy white paint delineates the ice cream laboratory from the customer zone. Photograph by Scott & Scott.



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Kitchen of the Week: A Katrin Arens Design in Sardinia with 250-Year-Old Wood


We’ve been followers of German designer Katrin Arens, an Italy-based master of old-as-new, for a while now. Arens, who is both a furniture and interior designer by trade, has been giving new life to castoff materials for more than 20 years through her furniture, kitchen, and object designs—long before the reclaimed wood trend came about.

Today we spotlight a kitchen that Arens designed for her favorite client: a Florentine family, makers of wine and olive oil in Tuscany, with whom Arens has collaborated for almost 15 years. (“They want individual solutions and they trust in my designs completely—so they are the perfect client,” she says.) For the family’s holiday home on Sardinia, which has a panoramic view of the Porto Cervo harbor, Arens used original wood discarded from a remodel of the 1768 Angelo Mai Library in Bergamo, near Milan. After minimal treatment, she paired it with stainless steel and new wood as needed for a practical, striking design that couldn’t have been achieved any other way.

Photography by Michele Branca, courtesy of Katrin Arens.

Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: The finished kitchen, with cabinet fronts made out of 250-year-old larch wood (larch is known for being durable and water-resistant).
Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: The ancient wood was treated minimally: “We just cleaned and brushed it, and treated it with some natural wax,” Arens says.
Wood paneled refrigerator in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Typically, woodworking is complicated by the expansion, contraction, and general movement of wood over time—an issue annulled when using wood that’s 250 years old: “The old wood does not move anymore,” Arens says. “It’s totally dry and perfect.”

Another perk to using old wood? Its character. “Even in the new use, you can see the life of the previous story,” Arens says.

Stainless steel sink in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Behind the sink is a stainless steel drying rack, slotted storage for cutting boards, and two caddies for kitchen utensils.
Stainless steel countertop in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: A compost bin and caddies for cooking utensils have custom wood detailing.
Knife rack in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Another option for the homeowners: An interchangeable knife rack made of new wood.
Three part burner in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: The oven and three-part stovetop are by Italian brand Alpes Inox. (For more, see 7 High-Style Italian Kitchen Ranges.)
Wood drawers in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Cabinet and drawer boxes are made of new wood, while the precious, 250-year-old larch wood is used for the faces.
Wood flatware organizer drawer in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Arens’ kitchens are all fully custom designs, including storage solutions individualized for each client. Here, a flatware drawer tucked inside a deeper drawer has 10 cubbies for different-sized flatware.
Storage wall in an Italian kitchen made of reclaimed larch wood Above: Opposite the utility spaces, Arens designed a built-in armoire and bank of counter-height storage.

For more on kitchen design, start with our Remodeling 101: Kitchens section with advice on Kitchen Storage & Organization, Kitchen Sinks & Faucets, and Ranges & Ovens. For more home solutions in wood, see:

  • An Easy-ish DIY: Oversize Plywood Pegboard with Shelves
  • Outbuilding of the Week: A Garden Shed Made from Reclaimed Redwood
  • Kitchen of the Week: The New Italian Country Kitchen by Katrin Arens, Scrap Wood Edition



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