The thought of eating at an airport is rarely appetising. Concourses filled with ubiquitous sandwich chains, greasy fast-food or faux pub grub leave little to get excited about, but Blacksheep and the team at Jamie’s Italian wanted to break this mould.
Our challenge was to push the boundaries not just of airport F&B but also of the Jamie’s Italian concept. Unlike previous project sites, this manifestation had to cater to a much broader audience – be it early morning breakfast or a lone business traveller wanting a quick snack, right through to families and large groups in search of three course meals. Therefore the offer was an evolution of a standard Jamie’s Italian and the space was split into three distinct zones – the main restaurant, a grab-and-go offer (known as the bakery) and a separate Union Jacks bar located overlooking the departure lounge. This created not just a unique space, but a unique experience too.
As always, the food is the most important part of a Jamie’s Italian restaurant, it was key to find exciting ways to display the food offers and entice travellers in. We created focal points within the three zones; the rustic grab-and-go counter in the bakery, the more refined antipasti bar in the restaurant, and nostalgia inspired ‘British pub carvery’ featured in the bar. These were united through a ‘super rustic’ approach, which was carried across the three offers using reclaimed furniture and timbers offset against luxurious upholstered furniture and brass detailing. These factors all combined to capture Jamie’s own authentic, honest approach and set a new benchmark for airport design and dining.
In the short time it’s been open Jamie Oliver’s Gatwick has won a place on the list of the world’s best airport restaurants, ranked 18th on the poll conducted by The Daily Meal website, one of only two UK restaurants in the listings. It’s also scooped Best Transport Opening at the Peach Hero & Icon Awards for excellence in the UK eating and drinking-out market.