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Empowering The Lionhearted Chocolatier

All people are extraordinary.

We just need to look differently.

We love people and their individuality. When we met Yoshiris, we thought we had heard quite a sensible amount of life stories, some of which very colorful and others more monochrome, but not lesser significant. This one was unexpected, though. As she unveiled how she had became a cholocolatier though, our awe at life’s unexpected turns, yet again, provoqued this subtle, warm feeling of humbleness.

Our task was creating a flagship store and with it the materialization of Yoshiris’ dreams. It would be the means to support and accelerate her into her visionary future.

Can space empower you to be your best?

A great amount of knowledge, poorly documented by mass media and encountered through years of research following our intuition has shown, things do have an energy. In some cases this may seem obvious, as we contemplate that souvenir on our shelf which truly dislike, but having received it by a relative, can not get rid of. It is as if it was watching us saying: “You possbily can’t be so rude and thow us in the garbage!” Through these items we may discover how we tend to be too kind or maybe even how we have a hard time saying what we truly want.

In the same manner, when we design commercial spaces, along with having to consider the needs of the customers and how to best infuse their experience with the values of the brand, we need to become aware how a new design is embibed with messages which can either support or pull us towards a direction which might harm us. David Spangler, in his book Techno-Elementals, explains why we can talk to our car or smartphone and they will react according to our energy.

The human biofield is electromagnetic and interacts with its surroundings all of the time. Likewise, serious Vastu Shastra (Feng Shui’s big brother) practitioners in India, hold a ceremony after the construction phase is terminated. One of the reasons for it is eliminating the energies the builders may have left behind. In the West, entering a church may be a good example on how spaces harness energy. It is therefore nothing new, only something extraordinarily neglegted to be taught.

Understanding this, automatically implies a great responsibility when designing any space. Yoshiris, a Venezuelan national and the creator of the chocolate brand Oro Moreno, found herself on a tanker ship in the middle of the ocean, somewhere near Afrika. She was desperate. Her boyfriend was working, and she didn’t know what to do with her life.

After a while sitting on the floor crying, she noticed two magazines lying next to her. The titles from the covers glancing at her said: ‘Cocoa, the dark gold of the Americas’ and ‘How to become an entrepreneur’. A sensation, her intuition, a spark. She knew, this would be her destiny. After many months, after the ship had taken her back to her homeland, she embarked on what would be the mission of her life:

Becoming a chocolatier and making people happy through her art.

The design for Oro Moreno’s flagship store needed to support Yoshiris in feeling faithful and motivated about her future and her brand, invite Panamanian customers into an entirely new experience through the emotions it evoqued, and allow her business to thrive and grow.

The insider Story

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The design for Oro Moreno’s first shop needed to include many aspects. Holistic architecture, often misunderstood by contemporary teachings, is more than taking care of proper construction, sustainability, budget, functionality, beauty and the client’s needs. There is a whole set of knowledge which is truly relevant and in our times is never applied as a whole.

Environmental psychology shows how our built environments shape us as individuals. Neuroarchitecture demonstrates how spaces impact the human brain and our behavior. There is more, but rather than making this a scientific paper, we’d love to show you how a shop has the power to retain customers while empowering the owner to materialize an amazing future,

Yoshiris’ dream was to create a world renowned chocolate brand. She had studied the art in renowned schools and her relentless will would take her there sooner or later. She called the brand Oro Moreno, ‘Dark Gold’, and she was now ready for her first shop. As we understood where she was headed, we instinctively knew, this shop design needed to imply European quality in a sublte way, given that the most famous chocolatiers are European and she meant to compete at their level.

Yoshiris used Panamanian cocoa only and this was a great tribute to the country. She had found herself a new home in Panama and loved it. Clearly, it was an important part of the brand and honouring it seemed the most obvious thing to do. Oro Moreno was tropical brand and while it aimed at competing with her bigger European brothers, maintain its original character and identity was paramount.

We proposed a design which seemlessly played with both aspects: a rather classic furniture design shown in the counter. Its lines pertaining to classic boiseries (French wood paneling) minimalistically simplified, would suggest a fresh and young feel. A wallpaper with out-of-scale, native, tropical plants would hint at the origins of the brand while having a great visual impact.

The in Panama at the time lesser known classic European cafeteria, where customers sit for hours in comfortable armchairs, would be a welcomed experience along with the chocolate making events Yoshiris planned in her new space.

To finish the unexpected design, we would create the effect of sitting in a glass house through applying the wallpaper behind glass panels which we would install on all walls. We called it the ‘Paris Effect’.

Projects are like (our) children, they have a life and personality of their own. While we initially planned the design to look like below, the project took an unexpected turn, as unexpected as our client Yoshiris, and was transformed as other factors came into play. See it here.


Chocolateria Oro Moreno won The International Property Awards London for Best Interior Design Panama. Visit it here