WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES via dezeen.com
Family Kitchen in Kew Gardens by Mizzi Studio is an alchemy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a “botanical science laboratory” – a place where humans appear shrunken creatures amidst a giant world.
Located in the families area of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, the restaurant is a menagerie of colour and wonder. Apple-shaped seating, towering timber-weaved fungi sculptures and a magenta-coloured Ethiopian Enset tree appear at once cartoon-esque and organic against a backdrop of bright pinks, mushroom browns and leafy greens.
A space of education and play, interactive design at every corner encourages children to engage with the natural world and learn about the process of farm to fork.
Mizzi divided the restaurant into four colour-coded zones that each correspond to a season, an element or a field of scientific research undertaken by Kew Gardens. Each zone features exhibits that beckon young minds to learn about plants, produce, farming techniques and meal preparation.
The spring section is characterised by a grassy green zone with a technicoloured wall finish reminiscent of rammed earth. Seating areas are nestled among larger-than-life sprouting plants and touch-and-play displays that demonstrate the plant life cycle.
The autumnal section is home to artist Tom Hare‘s giant fungi sculptures in handwoven willow, while the sanitation station teaches children about the importance of hygiene and the antibacterial properties of plants like lavender and rosemary.
Architecture firm HOK seamlessly incorporated the building that houses the restaurant into its UNESCO World Heritage Site surroundings by using timber inside and out. Further paying homage to the splendour of Kew Gardens, they took inspiration from nearby glasshouses to create a transparent front-of-house space with a fully glazed east-facing façade.
Love this magical kids’ space? Check out Wormhole Library by MAD Architects here.