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By Adam Zombory-Moldovan

FS realised it might lose ground and wanted to reinforce its market niche as a prelude to planned new branch openings. We have helped FS take a long, hard look at its roots, its values and its USP. The company is devoted to using only the freshest, sustainably-sourced fish and everything is made- to-order in each branch for eating on location, take- away or delivery; nothing is held on chilled display and sushi is served at ambient temperature. This inspired us to re-think how this message would be conveyed to customers through the atmosphere of the branch and set it apart from the familiar, glossy, synthetic environments others offer. A graphic re-brand went hand-in-hand with

our reassessment of the look and feel of each site and importantly we wanted the branches to be individual, crafted and ambient, just like the sushi they serve. We established a palette of bespoke elements that would be common across the branches and adaptable. That sounds expensive, but it wasn’t - using sustainably sourced timbers, iroko and sycamore, that are solid, substantial and enduring, but used selectively and sparingly, we were able to give the places a touchy-feely quality full of delight. Working with graphic designers and

a talented artist we developed a decorative scheme with hand-painted floral kimono patterns that have huge impact for a surprisingly low cost. These special elements mean that the rest of any fit-out can be basic and inexpensive. Some branches were transformed with very

little new intervention, building on the existing look and atmosphere. At Fulham Road the branch was to expand into adjoining premises, so a more complete fit-out was needed. Importantly we looked at each branch on its individual merits with the important premise – do as little as possible, while developing a consistent, refreshed brand feel. In some branches a few thousand pounds, carefully targeted, was enough to bring about that transformation. Importantly on each site we also looked at operational ease and layout to help efficiency and to keep staffing levels down. Feng Sushi branches have modest frontages,

but most in prominent positions and we saw a real need to sharpen its street presence, appeal and visibility. We developed the graphic identity into decoration for the facades and also into chunky, three-dimensional signage and logo elements that give the frontages great impact at street

level, simply for the cost of signage. We worked with highly skilled and enthusiastic suppliers and Shop-fitters (Contractors Ecsec - see ad on following page) to achieve economies and value for all the brand-building elements; they responded well to our tough demands for making the physical result communicate the quality of the sushi on offer. The real point of this tale is twofold – first,


that the design opportunity we exploited for Feng Sushi was to re-interpret and update existing branch environments using the company’s core values and mission as our inspiration: in times of tight capex, focusing on a company’s inner truth is paramount. Second, we believe in looking long and hard at the existing architecture of the sites, and of the operation itself, to make the most of its inherent assets. The result of all this is that nothing is wasted and money is spent sparingly and productively. And the good news is that this approach is already yielding real trading benefits both at Feng Sushi and for our other Clients whose sites we have similarly re-thought and re-invigorated. • We are grateful to Adam Zombory-Moldovan of ZMMA for this article. Adam can be contacted on +44 (0)20 7251 8888 Contractors : Ecsec Ltd +44 (0)1638 721651


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