Designed by Ab Rogers in Richmond, the new Pizza Express restaurant is an experiment of modern design in everything, from acoustics to service and food. This is the result of Pizza Express asking their customers how they wanted the place to be. The customers wanted to see in a family-friendly restaurant, they all wanted a decent amount of space to eat and play in (and to park the buggies in), easy ordering and decent, healthy food for the children.
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 acoustics, 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.