Ask Italian, Leeds
Turnerbates Design & Architecture create Italian haven in the heart of bustling Leeds.
The new refurbishment of Ask Italian in Leeds city centre, designed by turnerbates Design & Architecture, transports customers to the Italian region of Spello by connecting them to nature. As part of their longstanding relationship with ASK Italian and Azzuri Group, turnerbates were tasked with transforming a new acquisition site in line with the ASK Italian ‘Primo’ look and feel, which highlights the brand’s modern and quintessentially Italian dining experience and celebrates relaxed Italian culture. The two floor restaurant took ten weeks to complete in the summer of 2018. Turnerbates has been working with the restaurant for nine years and came up with the concept for the design. Monica Herdlevaer, an Associate at turnerbates told us:
“Each next-generation Ask Italian restaurant is created to have a unique feel and is linked to a particular Italian region or town. The new site in Leeds took inspiration from the Italian town of Spello, which each year hosts an annual floral festival. This is visible in the project through the bespoke floral wall, artwork wall and detailing. The design – together with the Ask Italian food and drink offer – creates an ‘Escape to Italy’ experience for the customers.”
In addition to the inspiration from Spello and an Italian courtyard- studies have shown that by using ‘biophilic design’ (design which is inspired by our innate connection to nature) that biophilic environments contribute to health and wellbeing and can encourage customers to feel at ease. In a restaurant, it is the perfect tool to use to create a space customers can enjoy to the full. The designers at turnerbates have ensured that organic forms feature both in the furniture and finishes. Natural materials that link to the Italian inspiration of the restaurant, such as timber, terrazzo and marble, are used throughout. The tactile cork feature wall naturally absorbs noise from the surrounding environment whilst softening the space and adding texture. Flower and leaf patterns are also echoed within the stitching of the banquette seating, dividing screens and as the frame for the indoor courtyard pergola. The trellis with greenery by the windows further creates an ‘al fresco feel’ transporting customers to an airy Italian courtyard.
Festoon lighting that creates a warm glow in the rear of the narrow space and draws the eye into its cosy interiors, with clustered booths providing intimate spaces of refuge.
Upon entry guests are greeted by ASK Italian’s largest floral wall installation, which is overlaid with an illuminated neon map of Italy, giving it a modern feel as well as classic Italian. Artwork by Alexandra Gallagher, featuring a neon sunrise over the town of Spello, further transforms the busy Leeds site into a Mediterranean escape.
“The clients are incredibly happy with it and there’s good customer feedback too.”
All in all, the Leeds ASK Italian design has a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, capturing the culture of modern day Italy and encouraging visitors to escape to Spello.