The Naked Chef’s Eclectic Taste

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For the Istanbul location of Jamie’s Italian, a franchise by Jamie Oliver, London studio Blacksheep uses the menu’s ingredients as a focal point in an interior that mixes up industrial and crafted elements.

The studio previously designed 15 locations for the Jamie Oliver brand, scattered across the UK, including Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Gatwick, Stratford and Richmond. Now the brand has become an international entity, with new locations in Dubai, Singapore and Istanbul. Blacksheep turned to their previous locations as a palette from which to assemble interior spaces that reflect an atmosphere that’s down-to-earth, casual and inviting – much like Oliver’s cooking.

More than colour, style or composition, materials form the common element between all locations, with a palette that’s heavy on wood, marble and brushed aluminum. For the Istanbul location, the design team worked with local trades to ensure that while these material choices were reflective of the brand, they also tied the crafts to the setting. At 885 square metres, the Istanbul location proved to be the largest and most challenging of the projects, spread across two levels and two terraces, each with a unique program and atmosphere.

No art hangs on the walls; instead, painted graphics, textured subway tiles, weathered wood panels in zigzags and rows, and shelves loaded with packaged goods and bottles of wine add a layer of visual interest. Underfoot, multi-coloured hexagonal tiles and terrazzo speak to permanence. While other locations feature glass chandeliers or automobile-inspired luminaires, Istabul’s site includes large black pendants with polished brass inners, crafting a warm yet industrial feel. These spare elements allow for the menu’s ingredients to shine; at the bar, bunches of garlic bulbs and tomatoes hang from a rail like exuberantly hued potted plants.

As in the restaurant’s other locations, seating is eclectic, a combination of metal, wooden and upholstered chairs and leather banquettes; if Jamie’s Italian has a mascot, it could be the aluminum Tolix chairs and stools, which appear at all locations. At night, when the heat begins to dissipate, the restaurant’s windows can be folded back.

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