Yo! Sushi brings in designers to wrap up diverse ventures

Entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe is set to make a raft of appointments, drafting in designers to work up concepts for Yo! Zone, the spa and nightclub business, and Yo! Home, as the original start-up business, restaurant chain Yo! Sushi, continues to trial fresh dining concepts.

In an exclusive interview with Design Week, Woodroffe says he is ‘talking to designers at the moment’ to help develop potential blueprints for his multi-purpose, branded home venture, Yo! Home. He explains that the concepts will be based on ‘mechanical ideas’, which draw on his experience as a stage set designer.

Designs for Yo! Zone have been drawn up, but Woodroffe says he is yet to make an appointment. Its flagship is likely to be located at the Battersea Power Station, which is currently being redeveloped by Parkview International.

‘We are in conversation with Battersea, but nothing is signed. Yo! Zone will be available at an affordable price. It will be the Glastonbury of the spas,’ he adds.

Meanwhile, Yo! Sushi is gearing up to launch an alternative restaurant format for the chain, based on a café and tea concept, in an attempt to broaden the Japanese restaurant’s appeal. The site, based at Bluewater shopping centre, will serve cakes ‘with a Western slant’. If successful, the format will roll out across the Yo! Sushi estate, says a Yo! Sushi spokeswoman. Packaging for the products will be designed by Intro and Philip Watts Design has created the interior scheme. The restaurant launches in April.

Separately, Yo! Sushi is continuing with its ambitious expansion plans, as the company prepares to enter the US market. According to reports, Yo! Sushi aims to open up to 300 sites in America. Designers have not yet been appointed to create the interiors for the US-based chain, says Woodroffe. ‘We will continue to make the sites different and eschew the cookie-cutter format,’ he adds.

A host of Yo! Sushi restaurants are also set to launch across the UK, including a site at Harrods, as part of its 102 food offer, designed by Dryburgh Gillian Associates, and a restaurant at Selfridges, designed by Philip Watts Design. The consultancy replaces Priestman Goode, which was originally earmarked to undertake the refurbishment (DW 21 July 2005).

Meanwhile, Yotel! is scheduled to open at Heathrow’s Terminal 4, and Gatwick’s South Terminal building later this year, after an agreement with British Airport Authorities. Priestman Goode has designed the futuristic-looking, value-driven hotel capsules that slot into unconventional sites, located in city centres, airports and rail hubs. A third site will open in central London next year.

Yo! Sushi restaurants to launch in the UK

• Harrods 102, designed by Dryburgh Gillian Associates, end of the month

• Bluewater, by Philip Watts Design, April

• St Pauls, by Platform, May

• Victoria Station, by Dryburgh Gillian Associates, May

• Selfridges redesign, MyHotel and N1 Centre revamp by Philip Watts Design, date to be confirmed

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