PRIMI, Canal Walk by CODE / Collaborative Design

Tradition meets urban energy in the concept designs for PRIMI

When the brief is to revive and refresh a revolutionary restaurant brand from the 1990s, like PRIMI, we understand that the real brief is to interpret a vision and to ensure that vision is manifested in every aspect of the design, from the layout of the space to the menus and the marketing collateral.  

We jumped at the opportunity to work with the legendary local restaurant chain on a new, but still recognisable, brand aesthetic. Collaboration was the watchword from the get-go, with the CODE team working closely with PRIMI’s in-house marketing team as well as external suppliers in a cohesive way.

The challenge was to use design to bring back the life and vibe the restaurants were once known for, and we offered aesthetic guidance and consultation on various aspects of this process.

Interesting design features that were incorporated in the concept include graffiti by Black Sheep Design and a handpainted interpretation thereof by artist Donald Barnett.

A sense of authenticity, and a desire to bring that through in the design, was very important to the brand. For us much of the concept was already solidified in their food, which is good quality and an inspirational aspect of the brand.

Using the authenticity around the food, and looking at the brand’s slogans “The future is tradition” and “Urban Energy” for further inspiration, we broke the concept in two. “Tradition” became the base for a neutral canvas in the stores, where authentic features such as wooden tables and real leather were reintroduced. In a complementary contrast to this, “urban energy” proved to be the perfect conceptual theme for the natural energy of the staff and the vibe from the commercial kitchen, which we opened up to emphasise this effect. The urban energy also came alive with the strategic choice of lighting and colour.

As with many of our projects, a number of furniture and lighting pieces, wall treatments and coverings were custom designed for the space.

The close working relationship we enjoys with the PRIMI team has seen them get involved in the design of the following PRIMI restaurants: Eastgate, Eden on the Bay, Canal Walk and Saudi Arabia (concept store).


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