Every Nando’s location is unique, and with over 1200 open around the world, it proves to be an exciting challenge for any designer to create a one-of-a-kind identity while still maintaining the Nando’s soul and brand.
This 70-seat Nando’s location is a celebration of South African colour and craft layered within an already charming building on Queen Street East. We wanted to create a laid-back atmosphere which would welcome beach goers and the close-knit community that makes up The Beach Village in Toronto.
We approached this restaurant project as an exploration of color and pattern blocking along with interpretations of traditional African weaving techniques while reusing the raw identity of the envelope. To achieve this we kept the existing historical finishes of the space as an underlayer to the Nando’s hygge; raw brick walls and tin ceilings layered with vibrant South African personality.
Local collaborations with artists and fabricators, as well as the incorporation of South African-sourced art and products, enabled us to create a space with authenticity at the forefront, where wood is wood and leather is leather, and most importantly, craftsmanship and detail is cherished.
Creating the Nando’s experience is not about achieving one uniform story. Instead, the challenge is to create multiple experiences in one single space through distinct dining zones defined by furniture, lighting, and art – each offering something special.
Leather tufted banquettes run along the exposed brick walls, each with their own finishing details, and are complemented by custom copper light fixtures and wall art respectively. Along the storefront, tall windows open up to the busy street and an indoor-outdoor bistro style dining can be experienced.
Curved bench seating pods, each with a South African-made beaded light fixture occupy the central part of the restaurant, while a counter height family-style round table with an oversized custom dome pendant inspired by artisanal pottery is located in front of the open kitchen.
Playful African-inspired textiles, colours, and textures reinforce the vigor seen in South African culture while attaining a level of sophistication for the brand reminiscent of their European ventures. The carefully selected materiality and thoughtful planning throughout this restaurant create a well-balanced aesthetic and flow and retain the eclectic and vibrant attitude of the brand.