Since its inception in 2008, the cult-favorite bakery, Milk Bar, has opened locations in a number of cities across the U.S. This year, the dessert empire laid down roots in Los Angeles with the opening of their first L.A. outpost and now West Coast flagship. In true Milk Bar fashion, Chef and Founder Christina Tosi wanted the design of their newest and biggest location to “color outside the lines” of any other Milk Bar that they’ve opened before.
To set their new Melrose Avenue location apart from the rest, Tosi and her team developed Milk Bar’s first LA-based Milk Bar Classroom, an experience center that operates as an educational test kitchen to host baking classes and experiment with new recipes for customers to taste. When developing the design of the new classroom, the team knew that they wanted to incorporate a non-digital sign that would serve as an interactive menu for classes and events. After some research, they decided that an old-school Split Flap Display from Oat Foundrywould be the icing on the cake.
“From the start, we knew that the Milk Bar Classroom would serve as a multi-functional space that would allow us to host a range of events, so it was essential that we find a sign that would not only bring a unique and personalized element to the space, but would also be easy for the staff to manage and change on a daily basis,” said Milk Bar Director of Creative, Ursula Viglietta. “Since a digital display isn’t on-brand for us, the Split Flap display was the perfect option, giving us the flexibility to bring something new to the menu every day, without coordinating appointments to get new things printed.”
The Milk Bar design team worked directly with Oat Foundry to create a three row by thirty-two column Split Flap display to serve as the ad hoc menu in their Milk Bar Classroom. Since the display is fully customizable, Milk Bar asked Oat Foundry to incorporate their brand’s pink color into select flaps, to give their display a unique custom touch. Now sitting on the wall of their Milk Bar Classroom, the Split Flap display rotates a number of fun on-brand Milk Bar sayings, like “I seriously love you,” flashes a “Class is in Session” message once class is ready to commence and allows the staff to update class steps on the fly.
With the space constantly changing from a classroom to an experiential kitchen and even an event space, it was essential that the staff be able to easily process and manage any changes that needed to be made to the display. Using any device on site, the Milk Bar team can easily plug in a message or a new menu to the web app and instantly send it to the display or schedule it to occur at a certain time.
“Oat Foundry Marketing Manager Jeff Nowak came out to help us with the initial set-up and give us a lesson on the Oat Foundry Web App,” said Viglietta. “Because the system is so intuitive, we were able to easily manage and control the process on our own, after a quick 15-minute lesson.”
Not only does the Oat Foundry Split Flap display blend in seamlessly with the design of Milk Bar’s sweet new home on Melrose Avenue, but it has improved daily staff functions and really helped to make a statement in their brand-new Milk Bar Classroom. “It’s so fun to see how everyone reacts the first time that they see it change,” Viglietta added. “It really has created a special moment in our newest and biggest flagship location.”
For hi-res images of the installation, click here.