February 16, 2020

Osmose Channels Blue Skies and a Brazilian Sunset for Portland’s Carioca Bowls

The exterior of the recently-opened Slabtown branch of Carioca Bowls in Northwest Portland. Photography by Dina Avila.

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.”

The vibrant blue plaster “ceiling cloud” and hand-dyed textile evoke Rio de Janeiro’s clear skies and brilliant blue sea while also providing an acoustic buffer. Photography by Dina Avila.

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.

Osmose also directed the graphic elements of the space including the menu development and signage, with graphic support by Meghan Geer. Photography by Dina Avila.
Osmose chose solid monkey pod wood, which is native to northern Brazil. Photography by Dina Avila.
Gradient bands of color are inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s vibrant tropical sunsets. Photography by Dina Avila.
The wave motif references Brazilian landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx’s iconic graphics which are found on the sidewalks of Rio de Janeiro. Photography by Dina Avila.
The stools at the communal L-shaped table. Photography by Dina Avila.

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