Union Jacks by Blacksheep
for Jamie Oliver


Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

London studio Blacksheep have completed a pizzeria for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver where a cinema listings board displays the menu and diners can watch chefs at work on vintage televisions.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Located in the Renzo-Piano-designed Central St. Giles Building in London, the Union Jacks restaurant has a brightly coloured neon sign inside that is visible through the glazed facade.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

The two-storey restaurant also features retro-inspired chairs, as well as leather seating booths lit by glass pendant lamps.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Perforated panels line walls on both floors, providing places to affix shelf hinges and signage.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Blacksheep have completed a number of restaurant and bar interiors - click here to see a restaurant they designed with interactive projections on the tables.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Here's some more information from Blacksheep:

Award winning design agency Blacksheep unveils Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant concept, Union Jacks

Blacksheep, one of the UK’s leading creative agencies, unveils the design of its latest project, Union Jacks, part of a continuing partnership with renowned British chef, Jamie Oliver. The new restaurant concept, located in the heart of London in Central St Giles, is the sixth project that Blacksheep has completed with Jamie Oliver, following a successful rollout of his first restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Union Jacks, situated in the iconic Lego building designed by architect, Renzo Piano, takes diners through a journey of discovery through Britain using familiar flavours, cooked and presented the Union Jacks way. The incredible flatbreads and wood-fired cooking methods nod to traditions that are universally loved and nearly all of the toppings are local. Setting the flatbreads apart from the array of other options on offer in Britain’s high street restaurant chains is Oliver’s partnership with US ‘pizza master’, Chris Bianco, widely credited as ‘the man who perfected dough’. It is a union of ideas, traditions and of people.

Blacksheep was brought on board once again to create a design concept that would take the Union Jacks experience countrywide. The design agency’s creative approach was to encompass the look and feel of the principle elements of the restaurant: service, food, theatre and ambiance. The agency worked hand-in-hand with Jamie. His love of British culture and heritage and his enthusiasm for encouraging the nation to eat better was a central theme for the interior design of the project.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Jo Sampson, Creative Director of Blacksheep, comments: “When working with Jamie, as with all our clients, we try and capture ‘him’, not a pastiche of his character or the best bits -simply his genuine spirit and honest approach to food and wider ethical concerns, and that is what is emulated in the design of Union Jacks.”

The spirit of Britishness is celebrated throughout Union Jacks; the food, the drink and the design are all underpinned by strong family values. There is a nod to yesteryear and subtle references to post-war nostalgia, including beralware-inspired plates with a cheeky twist that, when turned over, read “stop looking at my bottom”.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

Above the bar and work station, a graphic neon multicoloured ‘Union Jacks’ sign sits above a large vintage cinema style board that displays the menu and specials.

The colour palette combines muted blue, brown, grey and pink with primary brights. Objects collected by Jamie on his travels inspired the space and retro elements that appear to be found trinkets have been made bespoke by Blacksheep and are dotted around the restaurant. Knitted 1970’s style tea cosies are found on the teapots on the café tables outside.

Graph paper is printed on counter tables, stools are reminiscent of a school science lab, while simple ‘wash-top’ wooden tables and chairs with basic metal frames are used elsewhere throughout the restaurant.

Union Jacks by Blacksheep for Jamie Oliver

The lower ground floor is an intimate space with tables in booth settings. Antique TV screens are linked to cameras in the kitchen so diners can view the chefs at work. Bold graphics are painted on the walls and the menu uses old-school typewriter font.

Blacksheep’s biggest challenge was working within the existing building that would house the first Union Jacks restaurant. Specific guidelines had to be followed; the glass walls surrounding the space could not be covered so passers-by could see through it completely at any ground level vantage point. Blacksheep’s solution came in the form of a ‘canvas’ of three internal walls built to surround a central lift shaft. These walls were designed to act as a backdrop to working areas, and to house the wood-fired ovens, creating a visual experience for the diner.

The Union Jacks design is the result of Blacksheep rising to Jamie Oliver’s challenge seamlessly integrating his personal values into a functional restaurant space, working around the limitations of an architecturally complex building and creating a memorable dining experience for the great British public.

  • Retro Gone Too Far? Is it just me or does this place quash your appetite? I think there was a reason we got rid of some of this stuff. Peg board? I hope the food is good, I don't get the on-purpose jumble of design for the point of jumble.

  • Bhavnesh Chamdal

    Re-creating the past, so the interior is another un-authentic paradigm view of 'retro' nostalgia. Boring, and been done to death, and as Scott said above, "[…]on-purpose jumble of design for the point of jumble."

  • deedee

    Going out for dinner is about having fun and good times. This design is fun and good times. Maybe it is not "authentic" or whatever but I like it very much.

  • L Law

    Sad… Is this design? It is a diarrhea of every possible no-no's of what we look for when dining out. They (Jamie and Blacksheep) can't possibly think this design meets their brief to "encouraging the nation to eat better"??? It's a joke, frankly.

    • tc1

      i would hate to dine out with someone who has a list of no-nos.
      id never be so arrogant to call someone elses hard work a joke.
      honestly…you sound so mean!

  • Jeff K

    geez out come the design snobs. Looks like fun to me, and something the average punter would enjoy too, so I think the design is right on the money.

  • Guys guys Jamie Oliver here. Not sure how I found this page but have some respect for other people’s work. If you’ve ever been there the place is really fun and certainly I’ve never been anywhere like it.

    The real design challenge is being in a glass box which is the hardest design job in the world! The busy street with moving buses and black cabs going past every 30 seconds next to a roaring wood oven makes you feel your really in the middle of it all happening. It’s really exciting. Anyway the restaurant has its own personality, great music, celebrating all British produce. You guys slagging it off really? Come on… your work is so cutting edge?

    Really there is enough room for many expressions of design. That’s what makes the industry exciting. I’ve got restaurants in many different styles and this one has its own charm when your there. No one has invented anything, it’s all an evolution. Anyway I never thought design people would comment like Heat magazine. Very disappointed.

    Kind regards, Jamie

    • Arno Laniepce

      Wow, Jamie himself! You replied just the way I was about to! Indeed, how can Dezeen readers have such judgemental opinions? Go there, eat there, meet the staff, then leave your comments on Union Jack’s site, guys!

      I’m French, an interior designer and — let’s not let our tastes blur the bigger picture here! — honestly, the bet taken was successfully won!
      As Jamie puts it, this restaurant has its own charm and does have its character.

      The place is warm despite the seemingly cold glass windows which surround the whole place. The oven and personalised spaces, vintage chairs and school-reminiscent decorum have their influence on that aspect.
      Thank you again Jamie!
      It is a ‘must-stop’ for me every time I visit London.
      Already came twice with 30 architecture students of mine, and we were never disappointed!

      Regards, Arno

  • Karyna

    You rule Jamie! xxx We love you! The work you do and your effort in improving what you know is constant and inspiring. If only half humanity would rise from 0 as you did and feel nothing but love for your fellow man, we would already be much better off. You keep doing good :)

  • Dan

    Some people just can’t offer constructive criticism without being nasty moaners. There’s always one isn’t there. Let’s be better than that. Probably none of us have ‘”reinvented the wheel” with our own work but this is fun, down-to-earth design and I, like some other people, like it. Nice work Blacksheep.

  • LaureR

    I pretty much agree with Bhavnesh Chamdal and L Law. The thing is: I don’t think it’s even meant to be refined or look good, it is just meant to be eye-catching in order to bring money.

    The real question for me here is: if it was indeed all about food and fun, then why submit this to a design magazine at all? If not to get free publicity?

    To Dan, what about people who can’t take constructive criticism, don’t you think that as a designer and business owner, there is lot to learn from dezeen readers, who are passionate and are doing this on a voluntary basis?

    And what about using a famous name to guilt readers into not commenting the defects of the project? Isn’t that a little worse from an ethical point of view than “nasty moaning”? “Really there is enough room for many expressions of design”, but isn’t there enough room for many expressions of taste? Am I supposed to feel bad for not liking it, is this really one “hungry” entrepeneur giving me a moral lesson here?

    I don’t have anything against the “making money around my name type of concept” per se, but when pushed too far, ultimately, the only thing catching my eye is indeed the lack of professional integrity behind the project. Nobody has invented the wheel obviously, but I, for one, don’t enjoy people who use ideals uniquely to promote themselves.

  • Maria

    Instead of complaining and giving such subjective points of view, why don’t you people suggest a design option for the restaurant? I don’t think it’s professional to sit and complain about something without proposing what would work instead.

    I am a designer as well and honestly I cannot see the point of trying to destroy other people’s ideas if I don’t have a real reason (let’s say cleaning or security problems).

    It’s just a pizza place… and from Jamie Oliver! Food must be amazing, so just go there and enjoy it. If you find it so terrible and impossible to stand then don’t go back and that’s it… not a big deal!

  • I love the idea of re-packaging crap and selling it back to the masses as good design. The poor “masses” must be well confused by now:) Less really is more, and more crap is actually much less. Well done Jamie and team. I feel sorry for poor old Renzo ;)

  • LaureR

    Again, if it’s all about food then why are they submitting this article to a design magazine? Actually, the food reviews don’t seem so brilliant either…

    Points of view are by definition subjective, and comments are supposed to be the right place to deliver them, so why are they asking for a special treatment here?

  • Dan

    LaureR: I think constructive criticism definitely works both ways and people shouldn’t feel guilty about analysing or offering criticism just because there’s a big name involved. The comment calling it a “diarrhea of no-nos” and “a joke” could probably be worded better, like saying they didn’t feel the form and function worked very well.

    But maybe I’m just too nice. At least if you’re going to criticise something, or say you don’t like it, try and back up your argument with some reasons why you don’t. That’s probably good for everyone and starts a healthy debate and analysis of the project, rather than just slagging it off.

    It’s great that Dezeen readers volunteer their time to actually think and comment and contribute, but you can offer criticism or say you don’t like something without being nasty for nasty’s sake.

  • Dan

    I did like what you said though LaureR as you’ve got some pretty valid points.

  • lorenzo

    Nice atmosphere in a restaurant is about people… Jamie’s is a chain and a weak soul need always to compensate with fashion and cool. Chains are impossible to be truly authentic.

  • matt

    I went there a little while ago with a large group of friends and we had a great time. The food was tip top, delicious and unusual drinks, and I thought the interior was a well-executed and light-hearted refelction of the general ethos of the place. Unpretentious, inexpensive dining with a sort of London-meets-rural-mid-west-diner vibe. Cheers.