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Dairy brand Yeo Valley opens London cafe and store

Organic dairy brand Yeo Valley has opened its first London outlet, in the shape of The Yeo Valley Café and store in Queensway.

The branch has been designed by Phoenix Wharf, with a brief to increase the brand’s presence in the capital with an engaging and inviting showcase space. The agency was asked to reflect Yeo Valley’s nature-inspired ethos and friendly, unpretentious feel.

The result combines a dine-in café with a mini retail store offering ‘grab and go’ food alongside branded products. The two storey space also features a workplace above. It is located directly opposite Queensway Station.

Full height, retail-style display windows feature on either side of the door, with the window backs dressed incurved timber displays that incorporate hidden doors to allow displays to be updated. Backlit fascia branding uses the heart-shaped identity familiar from the brand’s product packaging.

Customers enter to find a café space decorated with images that tell the story of the Yeo Valley brand, which is still based in the village of Blagdon in Somerset, where it was founded in 1961. Visitors to Blagdon can visit an award-winning canteen and an organic garden, where events are staged throughout the year.

A refrigerated retail display is in a bright ‘cool’ area, while warm and earthy tones in the seating area hark back to the brand’s countryside origins.

Off-white flooring is used for circulation spaces, with black and white, star-patterned Spanish Hex tiles are used in feature areas.

Timber-style slats line the upper walls and angled ceiling, with a large-scale light box installation showing an abstract map of the Yeo Valley farm headquarters.

“We wanted to avoid the cliché of a whited-out or black-sprayed ceiling. The angled outer edges were designed to echo the inside of a farm building roof, whilst the large-scale 5m x 2m map of Blagdon tells the story of the company, at the same time as adding a bit of extra theatre to the space,” says Gullick.

Additional touches include a lighting feature made of 19 pendant lamps, and a retro-style TV against a patch of exposed brickwork. A bespoke petrol-blue dresser, designed by Phoenix Wharf, stores glasses and drinks, and display Yeo Valley merchandise. A cut-out shows a winking cow in reference to the brand’s dairy-farming roots.

Illustrations by artist Natasha Clutterbuck, who has a long association with the brand, feature at the rear of the space, as they do at the Blagdon Canteen.

Customer toilets inject an element of fun. Designed as ‘Blagdon Station’ they feature curved tube tunnel-like corners, and wall tiles sourced from H&E Smith, the supplier to London Underground. Signage is also in the style of London Underground.

“We first worked with Yeo Valley to explore the feasibility of using part of the Blagdon HQ as a brand experiential space for group clients, conferences and events,” says Phoenix Wharf associate director Emma Gullick. The agency then won a three-way pitch to be appointed to design the London café and store.