Huascar & Co. Bake Shop
Huascar & Co. Bake Shop, located at 453 W. 54th Street, occupies the street-level storefront below a mid-block multi-unit residential building in a Manhattan westside neighborhood known locally at Hell’s Kitchen. The project interprets the dreams and aspirations of Chef Huascar Aquino – the first winning chef representing New York on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars – whose vision for a flagship retail space called for an interior “gut renovation” and new storefront facade. The architectural design introduced a neatly tailored copper-cladding suitable enough to enthuse the attention of passers-by while also blending comfortably with the size, form, and density of its host structure. The storefront incorporates energy-efficient, linear LED luminaires and a discrete surface channel for stormwater drainage. The interior design for the shop eschews the customary bakery aesthetic. Instead of white tile and pastels, a sculptural median saturated in seafoam green creates an exciting backdrop for display at the front, while also functioning as a screen element for the new commercial kitchen at the back. The design succeeds to maintain and amplify the delicious, and off-beat small assortment of ‘batches made from scratch” – Cupcakes with names like PB&J, a peanut butter cake filled with grape marmalade topped with peanut butter icing and chocolate glaze, and Tiramisu, a vanilla bean cake soaked with espresso-marsala syrup topped with mascarpone mousse frosting, and artfully decorated delicious special order cakes, cookies, gluten-free desserts, and even handmade dog biscuits. Since opening, the bakeshop fanbase continues to grow steadily, and the business has become a beacon for NYC small business owners.