HWKN designs the cleanest, tastiest gelato in the city at Il Laboratorio del Gelato

As an ardent newbie to the ice creaming making game, I appreciate and commend Il Laboratorio del Gelato’s obvious dedication to their craft. It must be the German in me that particularly responds to the space’s precision, cleanliness and austerity. Appropriately dubbed The Cooler, the lab’s LES storefront/kitchen was designed by New York-based architects HWKN (Hollwich Kushner). The design allows for total transparency; Passersby can peep through the large windows and observe the entire production process, from the delivery of the ingredients to the point of sale – all performed in white lab coats, of course.

The goal was to design “a purity of space” that echoes the lab’s “clean and minimal brand philosophy.” A custom built, backlit polycarbonate ceiling creates an ambient glow that some may find sterile, but I personally find calming and kind of serene. “We strived to create the ultimate blank canvas – a giant white out,” HWKN partner Marc Kushner explains. Not only does the space provide a retreat from the hot and humid, general summer grossness of the perpetually busy corner at Ludlow and Houston, the gelato is freaking delicious. They even have a dairy-free chocolate that satisfies the rich and creamy sweet tooth of lil ol’ lactose-intolerant me, inducing a happiness that lasted the entire walk home over the Williamsburg Bridge.