Pale shades that hearken back to one's nursery room wallcovering and to the petit fours of afternoon tea aren't just sweet anymore. They're also trending: in eyeshadow shades, loungewear, and, of course, interiors. Enjoy these 18 scrumptious spaces in a spectrum of pastel hues.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s 1767 “The Swing” is a Rococo masterpiece that not only pushed the boundaries of propriety but, some 250 years later, continues to inspire designers like Nabil Dbouk and Ali Basma of the Lebanese firm Three Studios. The pair looked back to the painting—and to a passion for pastels in the early 20th century—for the interiors of Ayla, a women and children’s apparel store in Tyre, a seaside city in southern Lebanon.
Originally designed by local architect Domenico Malinconico, the 7,500-square-foot, stone-and-plaster ancestral home, now a boutique hotel, comprises two wings flanking a courtyard. Ludovica+Roberto Palomba retained many original elements, celebrating the majestic volumes and their centuries-old frescoes. They stripped away wall coverings, replacing them with gentle washes of blues and celadons inspired by the glorious paintings.
India Mahdavi's interiors embody a similar playful irreverence. In 2017, for the macaron-specialist Ladurée, she created a Los Angeles tearoom akin to a garden of delights, with pistachio-colored walls, icinglike lattice, and tables resembling meringues.
The Avenue Green Sheshan is ELTO Consultancy’s attempt to blend interiors with the outside environment through neutral colors, natural materials, and open, uncluttered spaces. It’s a departure from the plastic-fantastic rainbow aesthetic often utilized in early-education design. Shown here, painted gypsum-board nooks are designed as rest or shoe-removal areas.
Reading might be fundamental, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. The Kids Winshare bookstore in China’s Sichuan province capital city of Chengdu is no dusty maze of books. Instead, courtesy of Panorama Design Group, the shop is an inviting radius of circular zones orbiting around an engineering marvel of a central dome.
Ilaria Miani turned an entire medieval hilltop village into a hospitality complex offering a culinary academy in the former schoolhouse, suites outfitted in furniture custom-made on-site, and a jet pool inspired by ancient Roman baths.
Nothing compares to rebar when it comes to creating physical strength as a reinforcement for concrete or masonry. But as the Saitama, Japan-based firm Organic Design Architecture Studio discovered, it can make quite a strong visual impression, too. When asked to revitalize an unused floor in an office building in Tokyo, ODAS architects Hideo Kumaki and Yuichi Tada decided to take advantage of the inherent geometry and elegance of the material.
Proud of its employee-satisfaction record, digital studio Bakken & Bæck sees itself as one big family. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the company turned to real-life siblings to refresh its offices in Oslo and Amsterdam. To re-energize the tired former industrial quarters, the designers came up with a theme: Scandinavian Spaceship. The firm wrapped the entire space in seamless Nordic blue, with six gathering areas adding playful pops of contrasting color.
Feels like a spa, works like a gym. That catchphrase is embodied in Shelter, a multifunctional center occupying a two-story building in one of Sydney's harborside suburbs. The shedlike structure designed by Esoteriko had to accommodate four distinct programs: exercise facilities, ice baths, saunas, and a juice bar. The firm’s approach was a simple organization of spaces—defined by screens rather than walls for openness but some privacy—with a restrained and carefully considered materials palette.
The enduring popularity of bubble tea has proved its frothy appeal won’t pop any time soon. Particularly in China, where Ambrosia, a shop in trendy Shenzhen, enlisted Melbourne, Australia-based Biasol to design a concept as effervescent as the beverage it serves. For a sense of unity, a blushing terrazzo covers not only the floors, but also lower sections of the walls, tabletops integrated into banquettes, and even the front counter.
If it’s dreamy at Chip, that’s intentional. In addition to the aroma of the freshly baked, famously gooey cookies wafting through the tidy Long Island City bakery, the setting employs blond millwork, creamy marble, curved forms, and ethereal lighting. It’s conceived by the New Design Project. The clouds sprinkled across the cookie tins were translated into a cluster of paper lanterns and rounded arches in the partition separating front and back of house.
“Designing for a school is also designing for the future of education,” explains Nuno Da Silva Tang, of Atelier Nuno Architects. The Hong Kong-based firm recently completed a new lobby space for the medical campus of a university, which lacked a dedicated space for the students to come together. In Hong Kong, where there is a “constant struggle for space,” this element was all the more needed. Parallel to the sofa, four meeting rooms, a pantry, and a locker area blend together into a fluid peach-colored zone.
In an office by Garcia Tamjidi in San Francisco, California, meeting rooms for Kendo’s celebrity brands include vinyl wall covering of ad campaign photography featuring Kat Von D and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty products, the latter matched with a chair by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec.
For all its bars, day spas, and barbecue joints, Los Angeles’s Koreatown lacked panache. All that changed with the Sydell Group’s flagship LINE LA hotel, which gave Sean Knibb, until then a landscape designer, entry into the hospitality world. For the brand’s third property, LINE Austin, Knibb, collaborating with local architect Michael Hsu, had a different mandate entirely. No sense of place was needed.
Uprooting Venice origins for its growing staff of 60, online florist Bouqs relocated to a 14,000-square-foot brick and glass bow-truss building in Marina del Rey, California. Enviable for the bones, but with inherent challenges. Ultimately, they posed no sweat to Wolcott designer Andie Chang. Seen here, custom tulip-inspired pendants light a trio of pastel-painted niches.
When Sivantos needed a new corporate headquarters for its 600 employees in Singapore, it enlisted PLH Arkitekter to transform three floors of 143,000 raw square feet. Break-out areas throughout the open office are anchored by built-in seating upholstered in fabric ranging from teal to coral. Shown here, chairs in the cafeteria host a more pastel palette of pinks, yellows, and greens.
Building a narrative around womenswear boutique Antidote's commitment to sustainability—its tagline is “where conscious meets desirable”—Atelier de Yavorsky enlisted a fresh pastel palette and such natural materials as concrete, copper, and oak.
Mothers deserve a little pampering no matter where they live, and Cairo-based Quinto Architects is making things a little easier for local moms with The Cloud. Located in the city's bustling Heliopolis district, The Cloud complex incorporates a lounge/co-working space, kids’ area, yoga studio, spa, hair salon, and locker room with a distinctly rosy palette designed to appeal to millennial mothers.