Van den Berg Spice Shop / LOVE architecture and urbanism

Spice Spice, Baby: A Multi-Sensory Feast Designed by LOVE Architecture and Urbanism

Spices refine, aromatize, flavour, preserve, heal, increase digestibility, expel pests, and overlay inherent odours and tastes. They range from spicy to mild, can be pure or mixed, and consist of various plants and plant parts or minerals. They are vivid and exotic, create wanderlust, polarize opinions, can be pickled, and are even used as currency. In short, the world of spices is hard to beat in terms of richness, opulence, and intensity in all possible manifestations, shades, and consistencies.

This very richness is precisely what inspired the design of the new Van den Berg spice company building and is responsible for its current appearance: a lush clash of diverse colours, shapes, materials, surfaces, and plants.

The building itself is a former carpentry shop located in one of Graz’s “Secret Places”—those desirable, attractive, yet almost undetectable urban situations. Centrally located in the middle of the city, these hidden gems exude a magical charm for a small circle of insiders.

The reconstruction began by uncovering all valuable parts of the building. Missing components were added or renewed, and all walls were painted a neutral white. The existing black bitumen floor was extended throughout the building. New building components were designed in a loft-like style using white metalwork.

This neutral backdrop creates a stage for all further installations, such as furniture, spices, plants, and lamps. It allows the unique characteristics of each spice to shine through via smelling flasks. Colourful foils on the glass canopy provide a Caribbean light effect, while richly designed “Hanging Gardens” allow plants to seemingly float through the room. Finally, vibrant seating furniture in the tasting area creates an exotic and colourful atmosphere.

All in all, this project has resulted in a space of intense pigments, smells, materials, and associations—a true feast for the senses.

Architects: LOVE architecture and urbanism

Photos: Stefan Leitner