First impressions are incredibly important and we reviewed the existing restaurant branding and frontage for opportunities to improve on-street appeal. The branding was certainly catering to a menu of Italian favourites and we looked to give this a more refined look befitting of the new menu. We proposed a new name, ‘Fino Italia’, with a new logo and an updated colour scheme of a sophisticated and contemporary green. The existing frontage had at one time been two separate tenants and created an element of confusion with multiple entrances and varying appearances. Our belief was that this confusion could be removed by installing a single entrance and that first impressions could be improved by opening this frontage with full height glazing that would allow much more light within, offering more impressive views of the interior and also providing a more refined look to go wit
A popular Italian restaurant approached je+1 to create a new brand identity and scheme design as a prestigious hotel was nearing completion nearby. This hotel would create a major shift in the type of visitors to the area and the client was exploring changing their menu from Italian favourites to small plates (Cicchetti) to cater for this new market. Due to the location of the restaurant at the end of a long strip of bars and restaurants our concerns regarded attracting visitors, with exception to those staying at the hotel to this part of the stretch. With this in mind we explored branding and scheme design options that would provide an authentic dining experience but also make the restaurant a must go destination.
Our key principles for the interior was to create an authentic dining experience that’s full of atmosphere and to introduce an offering that would make the restaurant a destination. The first task in following these principles was to open the existing separate first floor to become an open mezzanine, allowing light through this floor for the first time and providing a more inclusive experience. The ground floor would become the main restaurant whilst the newly opened mezzanine would become an exclusive VIP section.
During initial meetings the client emphasized their commitment to using only the best quality fresh produce, a commitment we believed would not only attract visitors but could also be visually introduced to the interior and appreciated by those dining within. To highlight this commitment we proposed an elongated working bar full with produce displays, tall ladders and chalkboard menu walls that would authenticity, atmosphere and excitement to a visit. We put forward a colourful bottle display that would run full height, linking the ground with the mezzanine. This link in floors would generate curiosity from those within to what is happening in the VIP area above.
Varying finishes were specified on the ground and mezzanine to provide contrast between both floors, highlighting their separate identities. The ground floor would be bright with feature tiles contrast added through use of produce displays and metal work. Whilst the finishes would become darker and more luxurious on the mezzanine with brass detailing and brass light fittings.
By analysing the location, existing experience and the client’s values, je+1 explored various concept options to find the solution that best suited this client. Creating an experience that would not only cater to the new market from the prestigious hotel but also attract visitors from further afield by making the restaurant a destination.