UK-based leisure & hospitality leading design agency Blacksheep has designed the latest ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurant for celebrity chef & restaurateur Jamie Oliver at the Westfield London shopping centre at White City - According to the chef, ‘probably our most stunning site to date’.
'The inspiration for the restaurant came from several factors, the main being that we wanted to in-still the personalities and passion of Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo, the founders of the business. We also wanted to create a space that combined the essence of cheeky britishness with Italian flair. The unique location of the restaurant gave us huge opportunities in developing the Ice cream van concept and the beacon scooter lamp wall.' - Blacksheep Managing Director Tim Mutton
There is a great variety of seating in the various spaces that make up the restaurant, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house; every zone has strong sightlines and areas of interest. Bespoke booth seating is added to with freestanding furniture, including the ‘Omkstack’ chair and the ‘Tolix’ chair, with the latter a brand ‘signature’ item from earlier outlets, but used in different colourways here, from galvanised and stainless steel in the outside area to blue and black in the restaurant.
Every material choice and the story behind it was carefully considered as part of the design process and, in order to bring a truly authentic Italian feel to the designs, Blacksheep extensively researched not only the business, but also Italian restaurant and delicatessen culture.’
Other major design features include a ‘Scooter Wall’ (made up of many individual scooter headlights); a ‘Market Place’ section to highlight the retail and theatrical aspects of the kitchen; bespoke wall treatments, both inspired by and commissioned directly from Italy and dynamic lighting treatments, from bespoke chandeliers to industrial-style workmen lights, in tongue-in-cheek ‘gold’ casing.
Overall, the interior has a pared-down industrial feel, with exposed gantries, steelwork beams and columns, dark grey paintwork and lots of timber. It is spacious (with 4.2m ceilings in the first two zones), warm and accessible but doesn’t pretend to be what it isn’t. ‘This isn’t in any way a pastiche of an old building’, explained Mark Leib. ‘It expresses its modernity quite clearly.’
Flooring is a mix of recycled, engineered timber and Black Mountain river slate (used in three different sizes in random patterns). Timber is used for the main restaurant area, slate for the central ‘marketplace’ and timber once again the rear restaurant zone. Wall treatments include re-claimed ceramic bricks in the main restaurant, feature metal panelling around the toilets area and bespoke timber and metal panels in the Back Room, commissioned directly from Italy.
‘Jamie really loves Italian glass chandeliers’, added Mark Leib, ‘and so we also did a ‘meaty’ take on this in the main space with two bespoke chandeliers, with three different types of glass hanging from butcher’s hooks on a butcher’s rail. The chandeliers are situated above the holding bar and the large group table in this space, which seats 8 people, as well as one in the Back Room area.’
Blacksheep Associate Mark Leib was instrumental in helping create the materials palette and the major feature areas for the new 250-cover restaurant. ‘Our new ideas begin right at the front door,’ he commented. ‘We suggested having a Jamie’s ice cream van parked outside as a kind of brand beacon, both to highlight the restaurant’s location and to serve passing trade. Our client loved the idea. In fact Jamie personally went out and bought an old classic Citroën van, which was then restored in order to serve Jamie’s ’Smash Ups’, where ice cream, fruit and nuts are all mixed to order and served on a plate.’
Jamie’s Italian Westfield
Designed by: Blacksheep
Photographs: Courtesy of Blacksheep