California Chocolate Shop

49a Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 1949

  • Magazine picture of the California Chocolate Shop.

Snelling’s interior for this candy store was bright and cheerful, to delight children. This atmosphere was seen from the street through a shop window alcove dominated by the business sign, suspended on red plastic wires, and was accessed by stepping through the dark timber frame around the shopfront.

In an area measuring only 6 ft 6 in x 15 ft 6 in, Snelling created an artificial sense of spaciousness by inserting a mirrored wall behind the serving counter; placed to reflect the side walls and floor of the window alcove, including one grey-blue wall panel covered with a grid of large pink spots and candy stripes. The shop’s rear wall and ceiling were painted ultramarine; a dramatic yet recessive colour. More space was cribbed by angling a glass case into the window bay, allowing its contents to be visible from both the footpath and the interior.

The counter, made of silver ash, included a shallow-curved fascia panel; its design included a sunken platform to conceal most of the bulky cash register, also helping to streamline and optically enlarge the interior. To complete the scheme, white-lacquered display features hung from the ceiling, stuffed toys were arranged around the space, and at least one armless Snelling chair was provided.


—Building and Engineering. 1948. ‘Modern display: the work of Douglas B. Snelling & Associates: the ‘new look’ in display’. 24 July, pp. 26–27.

—Decoration and Glass. 1949. ‘City chocolate shop: Douglas B. Snelling Associates’, September–October, p. 28.