Design Detail: Milk Train, London

As the first permanent retail space for this dream-like ice cream shop, Milk Train’s Internet fame became part of its design strategy in London’s historic Covent Garden
Posted September 24, 2019


1 All Aboard
Much of the concept revolved around a singular visual bridge between British generations – the train. Designers referenced Britain’s historic train stations with a grand archway and globe lighting. Mosaic tiling, clever messaging like “Mind the Melt,” and an ordering system that mimics classic shutter board platform designs cap off the reminiscent look at a past era of travel.

2 Less Is More
“We utilized a predominately monochromatic color scheme to echo the art deco movement popularized among traditional train stations and platform iconography,” says Tala Ali, Designer at FormRoom (London), speaking on the black-and-white walls and tiling, as well as the black metal accents that offer an industrial quality.

3 Past and Present
While much of the design pays homage to the days of popularized train travel, it’s the small details that bring it into the present. Neon signage in script on the back wall suggests “Daydreams and ice-creams.” It’s a nod to the brand’s social media fame, ideal for the 21st century ice cream lover.

4 Looking Up
The ceiling features a conceptual art piece that mimics a train’s steam as it travels. The idea was to make the ceiling fixture easily adaptable for future installations. “The design needed to be unique and interchangeable across all seasons,” says Ali, “to allow the interior to evolve as swiftly as Instagram trends do.”

5 Come Again Soon
“It was important to consider the volume of customers the brand experiences due to its high popularity,” says Ali. “So we needed to create a space which felt accommodating but limited in excessive dwell time, in favor of a faster customer experience.” A limited amount of comfortable wall-to-wall bench seating, numbered booth seating and a large standing area accomplish the balance.


Milk Train, Covent Garden, London

FormRoom, London

Photography: Paul Lewis, London