Lumsden, a design firm specialising in retail and F&B for visitor attractions, has concluded its latest nature-inspired project at a classic English attraction.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew opened its Family Kitchen & Shop on 6 December 2021, following the success of its newly opened Children’s Garden, creating the latest destination for families visiting the gardens.
The interior creates a unique world of magical gardens, forests, and woodlands where visitors appear to have shrunk to the size of insects, in what could be described as a whimsical “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” meets nature adventure.
Inspired by nature
Diners will be guided into the restaurant by a radiating sun, starting their journey through the Mizzi-designed 250 cover eatery. Kew’s Family Kitchen & Shop introduces visitors to the natural elements of the ecosystem and its importance in growing the food on our plates.
Nature’s design is represented on almost every surface, including the power and energy-efficiency of the LED sun wall, Gaudi-inspired blue mosaic wave seats and pendant raincloud lighting. Seasonality and its importance to harvesting and production are gently taught through colourful interactive areas representing the earth’s four seasons.
A lab-inspired botanical hand washing station encourages good hygiene practice, providing the antibacterial properties of plants such as lavender and rosemary.
The experience continues to an adjacent retail space, created by Lumsden Design, filled with stories about nature. The team got imaginative with installations including display tables resembling oversized ants, to a reading area with a giant earthworm bench. Finished off with honeycomb hive lighting and cloud-shaped lights, the result is an imaginative and inspirational store for the Royal Botanical Garden’s visitors.
Family Kitchen & Shop is expected to generate significant secondary revenue, whilst reflecting values central to Kew and enhancing the overall visitor experience.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew project manager Patrick Wynniatt-Husey says:
“We asked the team at Lumsden Design to create a retail offer that would appeal to visitors of all ages, enhancing their enjoyment of the new and hugely popular Children’s Garden. Despite the challenges of lockdown and a limited budget they have worked in close collaboration with our other partners to deliver an extraordinary, engaging and cohesive design solution. In short, I believe this is now the best shop at Kew!”
The Family Kitchen & Shop is the culmination of the efforts of many teams, designed by London studio HOK with the interior design by Lumsden Design and Mizzi Studio.
The project was delivered by CityAxis with Mulroy Architects, resulting in a high-quality build and collaborating with Kew to design an all-new environment that simultaneously engages and educates kids of all ages.
Jonathan Mizzi, Director of Mizzi Studio adds “Kew is an institution that has brought so much value to the entire world. Our goal has been to design a space that celebrates nature and learning, helping to make children and parents excited about food growth, hygiene and preparation.
“Through colour, texture and wild nature-inspired form, we have created a space that brings families closer to the roles of the elements in nature, to seasonality, and the overall journey from plant to plate.
“The Family Kitchen & Shop at Kew is a place where the entire family can learn about our ecosystem – how the sun works, how plants work, and how food is grown. As we are living in a climate crisis, Mizzi Studio believes that nothing is more important than using design to champion humanity’s role as stewards of our great and beautiful planet.
“Our goal is, therefore, to help children fall in love with nature so that they will instinctively treasure and protect it as they grow.”
The new store uses sustainable materials throughout the space, including a cash wrap countertop utilising recycled yoghurt pots, creating a unique marble style material with flecks of paper and metallic foil running through it. Trees felled at the Kew Gardens site have been crafted to create tables doubling as mushroom-shaped sculptures.
Lumsden design director James Dwyer says “The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has always been a place of magic and inspiration for children and their families, so it was a privilege to be asked to create a retail space to complement the new Children’s Garden.
“All too often the retail space at visitor attractions is an afterthought, a missed opportunity. Our mission is to change that, creating spaces that not only drive significant revenue but also enhance the visitor experience. I believe that is what we, together with our brilliant client and design partners, have achieved at Kew. I cannot wait for the doors to be opened and the first families begin to discover the space.”
Callum Lumsden, founder and creative director, recently explained how attractions being responsive to consumer needs will help them to reconnect with their audiences following the pandemic.
Headline image credit: Andrew Meredith