Although there are so many new summer releases from The LEGO® Group (TLG) to talk about at the moment, I didn't want to let this Friends set from last winter pass by. 41035 Heartlake Juice Bar has 277 pieces and retails for US$29.99 / GB£24.99 / €32.99, joining Heartlake City's four other retail establishments that fall into the US$25-35 price range: the bakery, pet salon, cafe and beauty shop.
I should point out straightaway that I haven't applied all the stickers, so my version looks a bit plain up top. It's unusual for me to apply any stickers, but these are pretty good and largely get applied to common parts. There's an 'OPEN' sign for the glass door and other useful things for a shop, but I balked when it came to applying the stickers to the main sign. They're very nice designs of fruit, but the 2X2 round tiles in Orange [BL]/Bright Orange [TLG] have not been seen in sets for ten years, so could not be sacrificed. There are two supplied here (and in 41037 Stephanie's Beach House), but I'll get onto the new elements, of which there are many, a bit later.
My first reaction when seeing pics of this set was that the colour scheme is more of an assault on the senses than most other Friends sets. I don't think that's just down to the hues that strongly contrast one another, i.e. Lime with Dark Pink [or, in TLG-speak: Bright Yellowish Green with Bright Purple], as most Friends sets employ contrasting colour schemes like this, and it looks great. Rather, what I find unusual is the brave combination of Bright Light Orange, Orange and Bright Light Yellow [TLG: Flame Yellowish Orange, Bright Orange and Cool Yellow] around the base of the model. The intense richness of the two orange shades contrasts the pastel yellow floor - not in hue, but in colour saturation. To have this combined with strong contrasts in hue in the upper parts of the building is a pretty bold design choice. It's not unheard of in Friends sets, but this is an egregious example. You can see what I mean if you cover up the top half of the picture below, and then the bottom half. (This is an interactive post.)
But it works, as the colour blocking has been skilfully managed. The scheme is also successful because it's conceivably realistic. Heartlake City is a hyperreal fantasy world where a barn can be magenta, and it's the shops that tend to go craziest with the colour schemes. This makes sense given that shops are more likely to do the same in reality. So whilst Heartlake Juice Bar is intense, I've seen plenty of real juice bars going with exactly the same bold, fruity colours. The Cool Yellow floor is less realistic, but nevertheless has a retro laminate vibe.
This realism is one reason this set would make a great 'crossover'. I can picture those of you with large City layouts buying it to provide your town with some much-needed juice, perhaps adapting it by changing the floor to something neutral and completing the walls and roof. Oh and you might want to swap minidolls for minifigs. Or not. It takes all kinds.
By and large, the build is structural rather than focusing on details and, although straightforward, the unusually-shaped frontage makes it a nice little build. I'm a huge fan of curved 'macaroni' parts, so Trans-Clear [BL]/Transparent [TLG] quarter windows are always nice to get. Having first appeared in 2012, these have only featured in six sets. The 4X4 curved brick comes in Orange (Element ID 6054421 | Design ID 48092) for the first time, and I'm grateful that four are included in Heartlake Juice Bar, providing you with enough for a perfect circle in your other builds. The smattering of Bright Pink [BL]/Light Purple [TLG] plates on top of the wall don't look great, and I suspect were primarily included because of the need to lock the curved section of the frontage to the straight sections.
The orange horizontal lines of the walls continue in White and Lime along the counter. A clever touch is the way the use of one drawer for the cash register continues the striped effect .
Having been critical of the Cool Yellow floor, I'm now going to coo over it as it's great having large plates in this colour and we get an 8X16, a 6X16 as well as two 6X6 plates with curved corner. None of which are exclusive to this set but each only appears in one other set. Newest is the 8X16 (Element ID 6054385 | Design ID 92438) which also appears in Disney Princess 41052 Ariel's Magical Kiss.
There are four inverted 2X2 domes in White (Element ID 6050914 | Design ID 15395), which is a good number of this new-ish part. Here, they're used as seats.
As you no doubt noticed, the 3X3X2 quarter-dome comes here in Lime (Element ID 6035730 | Design ID 88293) and there are an impressive six supplied. There were four of these in Galaxy Squad 70708 Hive Crawler.
As I mentioned a while back, this set has the first ever 2X2 corner brick in Flame Yellowish Orange (Element ID | Design ID 6034175 2357) - sadly, only the one.
Finally, there are several new or long-absent elements in Dark Pink, a colour introduced twenty years ago. The 2X8 plate (Element ID 6054404 | Design ID 3034) previously appeared in just two sets in 1998-99. Completely new and unique to this set are the 2X14 plate (Element ID 6054390 | Design ID 91988) and the 4X4 quarter-circle plate (Element ID 6054412 | Design ID 30565). Frustratingly, only three of the latter are needed in the set, so no perfect circle this time. The 2X2 tile (Element ID 6054406 | Design ID 3068) is also new for 2014 but not unique. There are three here, same as in 71006 The Simpsons House, but you'll find 16 of them in a much cheaper set: LEGO® Friends Buildable Jewelry Box. There's also one in the polybag 30114 Andrea's Beach Lounge.
So it's actually a very good set for new elements, if the colours are of use to you. The subject matter is unusual for a LEGO set and with a few modifications you could make the building far more realistic, if you wanted. And the colour scheme taught me a bold design trick!