Set to redefine the restaurant experience; Sessions will change the way consumers dine out by taking inspiration from sectors outside of hospitality. The resulting design is a venue inspired by street food culture with sustainability at its core; a commercial kitchen look with an elevated hospitality feel, that takes inspiration from the design language of drop culture, gig venues and fashion collaborations.

Having previously partnered with Sessions to bring Shelter Hall brand to Brighton’s seafront, YourStudio played a key role in the journey of Sessions’ first London site – creating the initial concept, finding a suitable venue on Islington’s vibrant Upper Street, identifying the needs of the local community, and developing and delivering the design.


Plates, People & Places

The design concept is based on three layers: Plates, People & Places. Working upwards, ‘Places’ is defined by the raw elements of the building and local area. Championing sustainability by repurposing materials and features of the original site, including reusing lighting, recladding the existing bar and elevating brick and timber architectural elements.

‘People’ denotes the community and brings a layer of warmth to the space; to reflect this YourStudio specified reclaimed timber and recycled materials to bring a playful feel and positive message that is uniquely Sessions.

‘Plates’ is the final, and living, layer of the scheme. This is all about the food, flavours, and the founders behind the brands; communicated throughout the venue with a changeable system depending on the brands ‘in session’. Celebrating the brand identities in an energetic and unexpected way using flyposting and LED ticker tapes.

Sustainability is at the heart of Sessions. Designed for longevity, the space is flexible and can be reconfigured in multiple ways, making it future-proof. YS used non-toxic, climate-positive paint throughout, reclaimed wood tabletops, chairs featuring a mixture of sustainable solutions, including recycled plastic and fabrics, and reused existing features wherever possible.

A journey of discovery 

Every step of the customer journey has been designed to inspire connection between the customer and the brands in session. By visually connecting the entrance of the space with the kitchen at the back, YS creates a link between the warm welcome by a host and the vibrant energy of the chefs at work.

Before entering, customers can discover the brands by scanning QR codes on the Sessions shopfront. Once greeted by the host, the space is designed to take diners on a journey of discovery, enhanced by the theatre of the kitchen and stories of the brands in session. Orders are placed using QR codes on each table, with food and drink delivered by serving staff.

YS Experience Designer, Emily Watts, said:  “We’ve really enjoyed working with Sessions once more, to bring this exciting new concept to the high street. The team loved designing for the takeover nature of this project, reusing what we could to create a live, energetic space. We’re excited to see how Sessions’ elevated street food experience will bring a buzz to Upper Street; connecting the vibrant local community with some of the best emerging food brands.”

Sessions Kitchens Managing Director, Ben O’Brien said: “We’ve had a great experience working with YourStudio across a variety of projects from brand strategy to interior design. They always grasp the brief and quickly assemble a team with a broad range of disciplines to deliver quickly and effectively. The process is a collaborative one and we know they will take time to understand our requirements and ideas and turn them into an inspiring but practical and realisable end product.”

Sessions is open now at 77 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0NU.

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Publisher of Hospitality and Leisure News, 365 Retail, Retail Source and organiser of the Creative Retail Awards.