Harrison Expands Middle East Business

Harrison is off to a flying start in 2016 with the expansion of its UAE business, the addition of two new senior designers and a strengthening pipeline of local projects.

Joining the company’s Middle East operation, located in the heart of Dubai’s leisure hospitality district, are Harrison UK bar and restaurant senior designer Kerrie Gray and hotel hospitality designer Jim Rankin, who arrives as Head of Design (UAE).

The duo will be working alongside technical director Warwick Snelling and Harrison design director and UAE head Jon Bentley – both of whom have worked in the UAE for a number of years. They will spearhead new projects from clients such as Meraas Holdings, Al Tayer Group, Meraki, Jumeirah Group and Food Fund International.

Latest Dubai openings for Harrison’s UAE design team include the uniquely quirky Bikes ‘n’ Bites at Boxpark, renowned head chef Neil Witney’s South American-themed restaurant Poco Loco at The Beach on JBR, Food Fund International’s second Eat Greek at the Mall of the Emirates and Jumeirah’s Italian-themed Trattoria Toscana and modern Chinese restaurant Zheng He’s at Souk Madinat and Mina A’Salam respectively.

Projects currently underway include the design and rollout of one of New York City’s most iconic restaurants, Serendipity 3, at Dubai Festival City and City Walk for Al Tayer Group and a third Eat Greek at The Dubai Mall.

Commenting on Harrison’s UAE success and ongoing design investment, Jon Bentley said: “This is a tremendously exciting time for us here in the Middle East as local operators focus increasingly on our international experience with large, multi-unit projects.

“Since establishing a business and a full design team here in Dubai, our workload has more than tripled and is growing well. This is why we are continuing to invest in our talent and our infrastructure.

“Our new team members, Kerrie and Jim, have vast international experience in both multiple and one-off concepts covering late night venues, restaurants and hotel projects.

They will provide our clients with fresh, creative, on-trend designs which will work effectively on an operational level and inspire the ever-maturing Dubai market.”

Harrison Designs Aztec-Inspired Interiors For Poco Loco Restaurant In Dubai

Latin American restaurant Poco Loco by chef Neil Witney is one of the latest additions to the sea-facing strip of The Beach opposite JBR. The two-storey 880m2 venture, including a terraced area with sea view, has playful and vibrant interiors designed by UK hospitality design consultancy Harrison. The firm has recently established an office in Dubai with several food and beverage projects already under its belt.

Inspired by ancient Aztec and Incan art, bold prints and graffiti artworks exclusively designed for Poco Loco reflect both fun and modern Latin sensibility. With rustic wooden tables and benches, comfortable booths and chairs and brightly coloured ceramic tiles that cover the walls, the interior combines traditional crafts with a contemporary industrial aesthetic.

Jon Bentley, director at Harrison, explains that the client’s brief was to create a concept that would complement the broad range of offers along The Beach.

“The site is split across a ground and first-floor level and the premise was to drive dining on both levels but on the upper level introduce a cigar lounge feel,” says Bentley. “The result of which meant that the ground floor had a more family-friendly personality and the upper-level caters for the more serious, grown-up crowd. Following early collaboration we were asked to pitch the proposal at the mid to higher end of the market and we did this through careful consideration of materials, lighting and layout.”

The venue serves Latin American-inspired dishes and drinks, from its founder and head chef Witney’s travels across South America. Witney has worked on various London concepts including E&O, Eight Over Eight and Bodega Negra.

Read the full story in Design MENA Magazine here.

Forge Wins Best Late Night Venue At ALMR Late Night Awards

Huge congrats to the Harrison design team behind The Forge in London and, above all, to our client Novus Leisure for winning best Late Night Venue at this year’s 2015 Late Night Awards.

Organised by the ALMR, the trade body for licensed hospitality retailers, the awards pay tribute to the dynamism and hard work of the UK’s night-time economy and recognise those that stand out in the sector.

Over 300 guests gathered at London’s Café de Paris at the end of October for the awards presentation. 

Debenhams unveil the new Chi Kitchen Concept

Harrison is the hospitality design name behind Chi Kitchen, the newly-opened pan-Asian restaurant located on the third floor of Debenhams at the Bullring Shopping Centre, Birmingham, UK.

Working alongside renowned restaurateur Eddie Lim, owner of the highly regarded Mango Tree Thai restaurant in Belgravia, Harrison’s Andrew Kirk has ensured that Chi Kitchen’s design is as stylish and tasteful as its menu.

“The overall scheme is relaxed, with a purposefully limited palette of quality finishes”, Andrew explains. “Marble, concrete, copper, oak and leather provide decoration in varying textures and simple forms, spiriting diners away from the hustle and bustle of central Birmingham.”

With 118 covers, Chi Kitchen has a range of seating options, from deep, upholstered window booths offering views of the surrounding city, to high stools at the dining counter and bar allowing customers to participate in the theatre of the restaurant.

Andrew continues: “Flexibility of layout encompasses all dining occasions, while a bespoke and intelligent lighting scheme guides the restaurant through different parts of the day and creates an intimate dining experience for customers.

“There is a sushi bar to deliver freshly-prepared sushi and sashimi, while an open-plan robata grill is a focal point, giving guests a measured glimpse into the excitement of the kitchen’s live cooking. A ‘grab & go’ pop-up counter is provided as a satellite offer in the basement lobby area, offering drinks such as bubble tea, and prepared sushi, pan-Asian wraps and snacks.”

Harrison Works With The City Pub Company (East) On Redesign Of The Georgian Townhouse

Capitalising on the growing popularity of ‘foodie pubs’, Harrison has been working closely with independent pub operator The City Pub Company (East) to refurbish Grade II listed The Georgian Townhouse in Norwich.

Completed within a tight timescale and budget, this one-time steak restaurant has been totally redesigned to create a stylishly upmarket 450 cover pub/restaurant with the character and flexibility of ambience to attract families as well as adult-only custom.

Heading up Harrison’s team was Andrew Kirk, who said: “Harrison has significant experience of redesigning period buildings, which meant we could hit the ground running with this project.

“With careful regard to planning restrictions, we looked at the allocation of floor space between the elements of the building and devised a new layout which would help maximise the profitability of the venue, particularly its operational capacity.”

The ensuing redesign introduces character to the interior of the building, with a scheme that is strikingly classic, but with quirky elements to create interest and energy.

The styling continues within the six bedrooms at The Georgian Townhouse, all created with a strong emphasis on quality and character.

Andrew Kirk added: “The overall feel of The Georgian Townhouse is certainly unique. It stands out with an historic presence, successfully modernised for a complete palette of target customer groups.”

Harrison hits half century with Pizza Hut Restaurants rebrand

Harrison is the name behind the remarketing of one of the UK’s most established casual dining chains, with over 50 Pizza Hut Restaurants across the UK rebranded since the end of 2013 and a further 23 due to be completed by our team in the next eight months.

This high profile project follows our brand repositioning consultation with Pizza Hut Restaurants back in 2013 and our subsequent repositioning of a restaurant name which has operated in the UK for over four decades and in the USA for almost six.
Trial units showcasing our new designs led to a 40% increase in revenue, and a similar uplift has continued to date.

Lead designer on the rollout, Aoife Kenny Fallon, said: “Our brief is to reposition Pizza Hut Restaurants for future growth in the UK and to devise a set of schemes which are effective, durable, affordable and excite both current and future customers.
“Right from the start, our client has given us a blank canvas to work with, allowing us to challenge everything from their operations right through to their demographics and locations.  They have confidence in us being able to increase sales by upping their investment in the brand and giving equal emphasis to operations and design.”

The result is a reinvigoration of Pizza Hut Restaurants which is highly distinctive in the casual dining sector.  Its increased levels of ‘American spirit’ are given prominence through the introduction of key elements such as a bar and open kitchen, as well as the celebration of US icons such as the salad bar, ice cream, self-serve drinks and pizza buffet.
Finishes are authentic and vibrant, from the red and blue leather seating through to neon light fittings and stand-out artworks.  All echo the relaxed ethos of the American-born brand, creating the crucial point of difference from the Italian-themed competition. The changes also complement the recent refresh of the iconic red roof logo, delivery boxes, cups, menus and employee uniforms.

Aoife Kenny Fallon continued: “The overall feel of the new branding is one of contemporary evolution which meets, and exceeds, customer expectations, and is standing squarely alongside the market leaders. Pizza Hut Restaurants is no longer in that ‘no man’s land’ between high quality pizza restaurants and cut-price competitors.  The brand now has a strong, exciting and unique identity which is reaping rewards for its owners as well as its customers.”