29th March 2023 | IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn This week’s instalment of the Project of the Week series features a dynamic restaurant design by 2022 SBID Awards Finalist, DesignLSM. Situated in the heart of London’s Islington, Jiji Restaurant is a new concept that is inspired by a fusion of two international cuisines; Asian and Middle-Eastern. Curating the aesthetic DNA of the brand, our design worked to reflect and harmonise the clash of cultures, to create a dynamic and welcoming space that plays with the guests’ senses, delivering a standout culinary experience. Careful design consideration was not only given to the restaurant space but also to the display of the branded merchandise that Jiji offers to seamlessly blend into its surroundings. With a real personal connection to the owners, their refreshing and unique personality was translated not only in the interiors but in the innovative food on the menu too. SBID Awards Category: Restaurant Design Practice: DesignLSM Project: Jiji Location: London, United Kingdom What was the client’s brief? The restaurateurs behind the award-winning restaurant group, Sumosan, were looking to create a new concept based around the inspiration of the owner’s passion for Middle Eastern cuisine fused with Sumosan’s famed sushi. DesignLSM were tasked to create a dynamic space that felt relaxed and sophisticated yet with a sense of home and place, creating a destination that guests felt loyalty towards. Energy, anticipation and interest was to be generated by the culinary theatre from the open kitchen pass coupled with vibrant interiors to encourage guest engagement and visual intrigue. What inspired the design of the project? The interior design aims to reflect and harmonise the glorious clash of cultures that Jiji’s celebrates. The Asian influence can be seen in the sophisticated joinery of the repeat vertical elements to the gantry beautifully curving around the open bar and the natural timbers selected, whilst the custom, 3-dimensional, stylized portraits introduce energy and personality into the space paying homage to Tel Aviv’s electric nightlife scene. The design intends to create an informal, highly sociable setting; incorporating theatrical elements to reflect the dynamism of the twinned cultures. What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project? Set in an area that is rich in character and period properties, the building holds historic heritage having traditionally been used as a Royal Mail sorting office in the early 1900s. Whilst it is now redeveloped as a multipurpose building, playing home to residential complexes and other restaurants, within the building itself, there were some constraints that we had to adhere to and externally there were limitations with the signage due to the historic nature of the architecture and the sensitivity to the residents within the building. What was your team’s highlight of the project? Jiji has been very exciting to work on from a design perspective, even more so as it has been such a personal project to the owners. We worked closely with our client to create and develop their vision which was born from their passion of food and travel, resulting in the delivery of a stunning restaurant that represents their refreshing and unique personality, translated not only in the interiors but in the innovative food on the menu too. Our creativity flowed extensively with this project – from carefully curated atmospheric neon lighting to several bespoke items featured, including the striking custom 3D artworks, blue hued geometric floor tiles and the intricately detailed wooden bar front with its patterned relief of circles interspersed with the iconic Jiji logo. Why did you enter this project into the SBID Awards? We put a great deal of strategic planning and creativity into our design for Jiji, and when we saw our vision come to life and the positive response it received from the public (as well as restaurant critics such as Giles Coren), both our client and the DesignLSM team felt incredibly proud of what we have achieved. The SBID Awards are renowned for celebrating the best of interior design and this restaurant has earned it rightful place in the running as one of London’s most vibrant new openings. To be in the company of the other finalists is an honour in itself. Questions answered by Tom Munson, Senior Designer, DesignLSM. View the project We hope you feel inspired by this week’s design! If you missed the last instalment of Project of the Week, featuring a luxurious hotel suite design by Hirsch Bedner Associates, click here to read it.