Living Lab by Ab Rogers for Pizza Express

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Customers can play their own music inside booths at this pizza restaurant in Richmond, UK, designed by Ab Rogers of London.

Created for restaurant chain Pizza Express, the interior features projections on either end wall and a central kitchen with suspended mirrors over the counters so diners can watch their pizza being prepared.

Domes hanging over the booths allow customers to alter the lighting and plug in their own mp3 players.

Customers can attract a waiter’s attention by pressing a button to illuminate the dome above their table.

Customers can attract a waiter’s attention by pressing a button to illuminate the dome above their table.

Pizza Express have launched the Living Lab concept restaurant, designed by Ab Rogers, at their Richmond location in London where they are experimenting with just about everything, from design and acoustics to service and food.

The brief was to celebrate the skill of authentic handmade pizza and also expand the concept of feeding great conversation and reconnect with the pioneering spirit of the founder Peter Boizot who opened the first PizzaExpress in Soho in 1965, and who worked with lots of the artists, musicians and designers of the sixties. The creative team included Italian chef Antonio Romani; singing baker Liliana (who runs the Food Lab); fashion Designer Matthew Miller (juggling us with London Fashion Week); professor of accoustics Sergio Luzzi from Florence; theatre director and conversation expert Karl James; graphic designers GTF (also working on all the graphics for Frieze at the moment); Mumsnet co-founder Carrie Longton; DJ Nick Luscombe (Radio 3 & Resonance FM); games designers Spiral; film and soundscape artist Dominic Robson; Writers Rob & Molly (who have just set up We All Need Words); and artist and designer Enzo Apicella. Enzo, now 88, designed the original PizzaExpress in 1965 and the famous logo and painted a huge mural for us (ably assisted by Tom Saunders).

The project has covered re-looking at everything from design and furniture, crockery and acoustics, opening hours and uniforms, to all the food, wine and service. The kitchen is more like a stage with all the ingredients on show, and pizzaiolos who do acrobatics with the dough. The restaurant’s full of cutting edge accoustics, including conversation booths with domes designed for to create the perfect audio environment for talking to one another. Inside you can dim the lights, play your own music by plugging your ipod into the docking station, and if the customer need serving they just press a light and the dome glows. Projections play at either end of the restaurant (currently silently screening a series of 1960s italian films), and a soundscape plays in the toilets. There is also a whole new graphic style – including taking the idea of the stripes of the pizzaiolo’s shirts and using it in suprising ways and creating a new typography based on old newspapers. There’s a creative area to keep kids happy and quiet with a big shared drawing table, books and interactive games to help teach them about food and ingredients.

Ab Rogers said of the project “we’ve been developing a new layout for the restaurant, a layout which brings colour and energy, a layout that puts food first and displays the food, a layout which has the chef in the centre.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: