Jamie's Italian opened its doors in Hong Kong in a friendly, light-filled space, offering simple cuisine served within a smile
After over 40 uniquely-designed Jamie's Italian (JI) restaurants opened in different locations around the world, the brand finally set foot in Hong Kong, housed in a new commercial tower situated in buzzing Causeway Bay. Occupying a total area of 12,100 sq ft on one single floor, operations and development director Ivan Fernie, who has extensive experience of F&B for over 20 years, describes the space as rare by Hong Kong standards.
"One large, fluid space — such a concept is usually owned by Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, because they charge lower price based on higher volumes, which is exactly the ideal operational model of JI," says Fernie.
Designed by UK-based Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (MBDS), the space is flooded with light, thanks to the full banks of floor-to-ceiling windows. The long, rectangular and high-ceilinged room sets the backdrop for a dynamic and vibrant design mood, which Fernie says came from Jack de Wet, the head of international design and development for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. "He took all the ideals of JI's elements but localised them; then we worked closely with MBDS on the design," says Fernie.
The ideal of the JI brand is to create a sense of familiarity. According to Fernie, all outlets look the same as other JIs across the world — but key points of difference for each are created by adding customised local factors. For Hong Kong, it was a matter of creating balance: "We don't want it to look like a brand new restaurant, but we also don't want it trying too hard to look 'old', either," he says.This is a preview of the "Buon appetito!” article from the November 2014 issue of Perspective magazine.