Protocol serves up interiors and branding for Dishoom café

Afroditi Krassa’s interior design consultancy Protocol is working on a new Indian café that will open in London’s Covent Garden at the beginning of June.

The studio has designed all of the interior aspects of Dishoom, as well as created the branding and positioning, packaging, tableware and uniforms.

Protocol was invited to discuss ideas for the project in December 2007 during a creative-led pitch. The project then started in February 2008 with a budget of £1.5m.

The design for the 510m2 space is inspired by the unexpected interiors of 1930s Bombay city cafés. ‘It is the complete opposite of what we stereotype as Indian,’ Krassa says. ‘The cafés are monochrome, very classic, retro and warm without being decorative. That is what Dishoom will feel like too.’

Although the client originally wanted an Indian version of pan-Asian restaurant chain Wagamama, Krassa says she felt that the idea did not reflect its product.

Instead, she opted for a cosy, relaxed space, aimed both at students and businessmen.

Krassa says, ‘I was attracted by the challenge of taking one of the holy grails of British culture – these loved spaces, ridden with clichés, stereotypes, hideous tackiness – and then completely reinventing it.’

The studio is also rebranding Neapolitan ice-cream company Zazà for the UK market.

Krassa has designed a kiosk, packaging and marketing material for Zazà’s new branch at London’s Westfield shopping centre, which will open in February.

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