Why getting the right products in front of our designers is vital to being specified in award winning restaurant design.


23rd January 2018

By richard


Nathan Stevenson, one of our Senior Designers outlines why it is important to select and use the right products in any successful restaurant design project. Nathan has recently lead the design for Nando’s Stevenage (UK) and discusses what is needed to create memorable, exciting and vibrant restaurant design solutions.

“The design direction for Nando’s as a brand is a modern twist on their South African / Portuguese roots, where each restaurant design is unique. Nando’s have a very strong relationship with the modern arts and crafts movement in South Africa and actively support artists and artisans by commissioning work to be used throughout their restaurants. The products and materials we use in our Nando’s schemes are carefully researched and selected to convey strong heritage and artisan craftsmanship while creating a vibrant and exciting environment for customers to enjoy.

We have recently completed a new build Nando’s restaurant located within the new flagship Debenhams store in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

The choice of lighting and furniture are two key areas which are essential to creating a great environment.  For me the Nando’s style is relaxed and handcrafted while still having a fun, playful side. The design makes use of bespoke products throughout and ‘Parkside Tiles’ sourced handmade tiles for the servery front and decorative columns.  The tiles are produced manually by Portuguese craftsmen and creates a merger between the ancient technique of making ceramics and a modern aesthetic. The triangular three-dimensional tiles have a red glaze which takes its colour from red chillies used in the food. The result is a striking gloss red glaze with a depth of colour only found with handmade tiles. The glaze has natural variations and this emphasises the unique qualities of the product.

We worked closely with ‘The Light Corporation’ on the Stevenage project to design bespoke lighting which communicates a strong sense of modern African design. We also commissioned vibrant lighting from ‘Ashanti Design’, who are South African based designers who are supported by Nando’s and specialise in bespoke, handmade fabric products.

The loose furniture for Stevenage was supplied by ‘The Contract Chair Company’ and the scheme featured the ‘Dixie’ chair by ‘Cantarutti’. We have used this chair on a number of Nando’s projects because it has a great sculptural quality and the large back can be fully upholstered to give it real presence in the space. We use high-quality natural leathers by ‘Crest Leather’ and ‘Futura’ in vibrant colours along with bold pattern fabrics which have an ethnic feel (fabrics by Dedar, Christopher Farr & Svensson).

At Harrison we take great care and pay exacting attention to detail when selecting products to use in our schemes – selecting the right products is an essential part of our design process”