Portland, Oregon is known for having its share of gray days, but stepping into the recently-opened Slabtown branch of Carioca Bowls is like a dose of tropical sunshine. Interior designer Andee Hess of the Portland-based firm Osmose was tapped to design the second outpost of the Brazilian-themed açaí café. Osmose—which is known for designing rich conceptual environments—was asked to create a space that would “resemble both the vibrancy of the açaí community and the essence of the streets of Rio.”
Hess met the owners serendipitously, right before heading off on her own already-planned trip to Rio, and the perfectly-timed vacation served as a deep dive into building a strong new aesthetic for the brand. Osmose focused on three key design elements for the project: color, materiality, and a groovy wave motif. The waves, which echo throughout the shop, “reference Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s iconic graphics on the sidewalks of Rio,” explains Hess. Gradient bands of color that range from orange to white are inspired by Brazilian sunsets while a wavy blue plaster suspended “ceiling cloud” adds both color and an acoustic buffer.