Waitrose, one of the UK's leading food retail brands, reinforced its position as the destination for food lovers by becoming the first UK supermarket to own and operate a cookery school.
While clearly part of the Waitrose brand, the school has been designed to present itself as a brand extension for added connectivity with customers. Curated retail, within a more familiar, domestic environment - ensuring a comfortable, inspirational experience for all its visitors with cooking right at its heart.
The design concept consists of unified space with specific flexible uses. In addition to the school's 12 kitchen stations, the open plan space features a demonstration theatre seating 40 people, a wine bar, dining area and a 4m long floor to ceiling wine display.
Besides delivering a comprehensive timetable of classes, the cookery school will also be used for press launches, wine tasting and media events.
Gensler created an environment that has a strong contemporary feel using neutral coloured materials and planar form. European oak features strongly through the scheme and is used in areas where visitors get closer brand - the floor to ceiling bookshelves, reception and dining tables and product displays.
In addition to the built environment, Gensler also created the cookery school's identity and environmental graphic package. Designed to suggest the multi-layered, interactive activity of cooking, an illustrative collage of produce, utensils and kitchen equipment is applied at large scale on signature walls through the school.
The entire space is designed to reflect the communal ambience of a kitchen table. Gathering, communicating, tasting and sharing a passion for food.