The ice cream making method of using liquor nitrogen has become an international trend. This method inspired Michael Lai and Tommy Choi to start up their ice cream shop in Vancouver using the liquid nitrogen process. So, what does this process actually do, other than look cool? Liquid nitrogen is used when ice cream is made to order; the nitrogen freezes the ingredients rapidly, allowing for a smoother and creamier end product. And it becomes almost scientific and theatrical.
The team worked with Scott & Scott Architects to develop ‘Mister’ in Vancouver. The shop can found located on an old loading dock of a 1912 warehouse loft conversion in the Yaletown district. It doesn’t get much cooler than that (no pun intended). The architects designed the space so that it would give homage to the buildings’ history, while also celebrating this ice cream making process.
Mister is a good example of form following function. Materials were carefully selected to ensure they would one hundred percent suit their intended purpose. The building was completely stripped back to its’ concrete slab flooring and brickwork walls. Appropriate coatings were applied to all walls in prep areas. The islands were fabricated with plate steel which was dip galvanised allowing it to support the protective glasswork. The island is incredible; it is detailed in such a manner that it holds the heavy chilled mist and then, when right, it allows for needed ventilation. The counter top is made of soapstone, which has historically been used in laboratories and is suited to the thermal shock of the -196C nitrogen.
“We often associate the galvanised finish with memories of cold from childhood and that experience of sticking your tongue to the steel guard on a ski lift”