Mizzi Studio is inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the restaurant
Design firm Mizzi Studio completed interiors for Family Kitchen, a children’s restaurant in Kew Gardens that combines the aesthetic of the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a “botanical science lab.”
Located in the family district of Royal botanical gardens in Kew, southwest London, the restaurant features whimsical designs such as an apple-shaped seat, giant wood-woven mushroom sculptures and a magenta-colored Ethiopian Enset tree.
The fantastic restaurant has a color palette of bright pinks, mushroom brown, and leafy greens, purposefully chosen to evoke plants and foods found in nature. Its interior is “a magical world,” said Jonathan Mizzi, director of Studio Mizzi.
“We have designed a magical world of gardens, forests and forests, where human beings seem to have been reduced to the size of little creatures living with nature, in what can best be described as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meet a botanical science laboratory, ”he said.
Architectural firm HOK was responsible for the building that houses the family kitchen and paid particular attention to its seamless integration into its surroundings at Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To do this, the company used exposed wood inside and out. According to Stuart Ward, architect at HOK, this sustainable material creates a connection with the natural world outside the restaurant.
“As an extension of the gardens, the restaurant houses interactive and educational facilities that promote the research and work of the Royal Botanic Gardens,” Ward told Dezeen.
“The wooden frame provides a tactile connection with natural material abundant in the surrounding gardens, allowing children to identify the connection in a simple and obvious way,” he explained.
The architects also took inspiration from the designs of the neighboring greenhouses, opting for a transparent front space with a fully glazed facade facing east.
This offers guests a panoramic view of the adjacent children’s garden outside the restaurant.
“The practicality and beauty of the greenhouses was borrowed by the design team to encourage natural light into the restaurant while maximizing the visual connection to the gardens,” said Ward.
Inside, the connection to the Children’s Garden is maintained. Here, the interior design encourages children to engage with the natural world and learn more about where food comes from, just as they would outdoors.
For example, the Open Kitchen and Kids’ Pizza Topping Station, where kids can select their own ingredients, aims to educate younger diners about the food-making process. They can even peek through red periscopes around the oven and look at a range of vegetables harvested inside.
Mizzi has divided the restaurant into four color-coded areas that each correspond to a season, natural feature, or area of scientific research undertaken by Kew Gardens.
In each area, colored panels and exhibits give families an overview of plants, products, farming techniques and meal preparation.
“Kew’s home kitchen is a place where the whole family can learn about our ecosystem – how the sun works, how plants work and how food is grown,” Mizzi said.
“Distinguished by bright colors and magical installations, each zone seeks to educate children and inspire them to explore the natural world, organic products and healthy food preparation,” he continued.
The spring section is characterized by a green grassy area with a multi-colored wall finish that looks like dirt. The rest areas are surrounded by giant germinating plants and interactive screens that show the plants’ growth cycle.
In the fall section, Mizzi collaborated with the artist Tom hare who created large-scale hand-woven willow mushroom sculptures.
Another section is designed to resemble a garden, with an oversized tree, shiny foliage, and colorful seating inspired by vibrant summer berry tones completing the look.
A final section includes a sanitation station that helps children discover the importance of hygiene, while learning about the antibacterial properties of plants like lavender and rosemary.
Other Mizzi Studio projects include a brass coffee kiosk next to Buckingham Palace and a stingray cafe next to the Serpentine in Hyde Park.
The photograph is by James mcdonald unless otherwise stated.
Interior design: Studio Mizzi
Store interiors: Designed by Lumsden
Delivery architect: Mulroy Architects
Project Manager: Patrick Wynniatt-Husey (on behalf of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
Main contractor: CityAxe