Somerset family farm enterprise, Yeo Valley, also Britain’s leading organic dairy brand, has expanded on the success of both its dairy product range and its Blagdon-based farm, café and garden by opening its very first London outlet, comprised of a two-storey café, shop and workspace on Queensway in west London, designed by award-winning South West creative agency Phoenix Wharf.
“Phoenix Wharf had already been involved with the client prior to this project,” Phoenix Wharf Associate Director Emma Gullick explained. “We first worked with Yeo Valley to explore the feasibility of using part of the Blagdon HQ as a band experiential space for group clients, conferences and events.”
The brief for the new space was to create an engaging, inviting showcase for Yeo Valley, incorporating a dine-in café, grab ‘n’ go produce and a mini retail store, as well as a work and meeting space on the site’s upper storey. The designers were asked to maintain and express the brand’s nature-inspired ethos and friendly, fun and unpretentious feel, whilst also creating links to the existing HQ. This included integrating the work of artist-illustrator Natasha Clutterbuck, who has a long association with the brand and whose murals are part of the Blagdon Canteen, as well as creating artwork for special editions of the product range.
The new café-store has two street-facing, retail-style, full-height boutique windows to either side of the main double-door entrance, with backlit storefront above for The Yeo Valley Café, using the brand’s existing heart-shaped identity. On the inside of the store, the backs of the windows are dressed in curved floor-to-ceiling timber panelling.
The interior features a dual ‘warm and cool’ concept, with a white and bright ‘cool’ area to the right for grab ‘n’ go produce and the mini retail area, which underlines the freshness of the dairy produce range, and then a warmer ‘natural’ sit-down area to the left, underlining the brand’s countryside origins and authenticity.
A central off-white flooring corridor is for circulation and unites the spaces, with a feature flooring apron to both sides in a black and white, star-patterned Spanish Hex tile with a matt finish. White, horizontal timber-style slats in line with the upper walls and the angled ceiling, whilst an eye-catching, huge-scale ceiling feature down the centre of the space takes the form of a stained-glass light-box installation, showing an abstracted map of the Yeo Valley farm HQ in Blagdon.
The left-hand side of the ground floor space features a natural colourway with a slightly 70s retro feel, including a deep olive green used for the left-side booth banquette seating. Loose seating is in the form of retro moulded chairs for a home-from-home feel, whilst bespoke tables are topped in Brazilian cosmic black granite, with a single, central tulip-style metal base.
Bespoke elements are prevalent throughout the café, with Bristol-based Reynolds Collcutt responsible for the joinery production and fit out of the space, including the counter and dresser.
Brand stories also feature in this area, including a picture wall along the first third of the space featuring a variety of images from the Yeo Valley HQ. The central section of the wall, alongside the booth seating, features exposed brickwork, which is used again to the left side of the rear wall as both a rustic reference and an allusion to the Blagdon Company HQ building.
A lighting feature made up of a clutch of 19 pendant lamps in different designs and set at different lengths, with shades in yellows, golds and orangey-reds, hangs over the booth seating and catches guests’ eyes as they enter. The final third of the left-side wall houses a cottage-garden-inspired mural by artist Natasha Clutterbuck.
The rear wall features a large-scale retro style TV against the exposed brickwork, telling the ‘Yeo TV’ brand story visually and offering a distraction for anyone queuing to pay at the back-right pay counter. The remaining rear wall is made up of a crittal-effect door and screen with lightbox windows to give a feeling of added depth and an illusory sense of beyond.
The right-hand side of the space features a product chiller wall and then an angled counter, both featuring blue-tinged LED underlighting. The counter has a solid stone, delicatessen-style top and plenty of back-wall interest in the form of mustard-coloured tiling in an angled herringbone pattern. As customers arrive at the pay-counter, a large, glossy, petrol-blue dresser catches the eye against the backwall. The dresser features a granite worktop that matches the table tops, plus an inset sink, and is used both for drink and glasses storage and for Yeo Valley merchandise display. At the top, a cut-out section features a winking golden cow in glittery acrylic; a reminder of the brand’s dairy farm origins and playful nature.
The general workspace includes sit-down workstations and a higher bar seating work area for laptop work. Feature wallpaper features alongside, whilst the rest of the walls are painted white, with a rich red stairwell – a visual link to the corridors of the Blagdon HQ.
“The experience of working with Phoenix Wharf was very uplifting,” said Adrian Fenton, Managing Director at Yeo Valley properties. “They really helped bring our ideas to life and their visual concepts transferred almost exactly to the finished space, which we’re very happy with.”