As retail and hospitality specialists we were thrilled to be commissioned by Zouki, whose core business is food in the health sector, to develop the master plan, and subsequently undertake the interior design and implementation coordination of what is one of the largest retail and hospitality precincts to be developed in a hospital in Australia. We also identified an opportunity as part of transitioning the hospital’s ground floor lobby space from its previous primary circulation role – to insert a branding overlay for Westmead Hospital.

One of the largest medical facilities in NSW, Westmead Hospital is a busy place that has a daily captive audience of approximately 12,000 people – staff, students, visitors and patients. The new centrally located Zouki cafeteria is a lynchpin with the core aim of encouraging staff to collaborate and share knowledge and to provide a high quality food offer for all stakeholders.

Located on the main entry level to the hospital, we strategically positioned the Zouki cafeteria beyond the foyer, close to the main thoroughfares and to re-engage the hospital with natural light, yet without impeding pedestrian flow. The design encompassed a commercial kitchen with catering facilities, a massive food servary that’s 34m long. Convenient and time efficient access for customers to different products led to the interspersion of 12 transaction points in addition to a separate coffee area for those customers who literally want a quick coffee.

To convey the Zouki brand attributes we designed the cafeteria environment to complement Zouki’s professional presentation of food, the high quality food itself and the professional nature of their business. This informed the selection of quality finishes, clear signage and effective flow. We specified green mosaic tiles for each of the three food and coffee offers throughout Westmead Hospital as a way of subtly reinforcing Zouki’s brand colours. Inherent to Red Design Group’s design philosophy, lighting is positioned to contribute atmosphere with the strategy of drawing attention to the product. Slip resistant flooring and durable stone bench tops were two practical considerations, their grey toning – part of an overall neutral dark backdrop that works to accentuate the vivid colours of the fresh, quality, food offer.

Ambient indoor and outdoor seating provides a hub with various places for quite respite or conversation. Much of the planning and interior design theory at work here stemmed from our retail experience – with the product (food and drinks) equal with the customer experience as prime considerations.

The cafeteria design, factors in customer approach, the different products on offer, cash registry locations and queues. Food presentation is strategically visible from the major walkways -so that it’s attractive, tempting and accessible.

As part of the planning process we provided advice to the hospital on preferred adjacencies for new retail. This led to the creation of a retail orientated precinct near the busy end points of circulation of florist, pharmacy, news agency and hair and beauty offers. A separate new business end and financial precinct collocates – a bank, ATM, post office and hospital cashier quarters. It was about providing some existing facilities with an updated contemporary look and new location within the scheme while adding some extra amenities -overall – a more logical flow.

Zouki Westmead is the result of a forward thinking private and public partnership between Western Sydney Local Health Network and Zouki who won the project tender. It’s a win-win arrangement that delivers revenue to front line patient care for the hospital and new infrastructure facilities for reception, admissions, cashier and volunteers without cost. The project introduces a food and drink offer of a quality and a service level not traditionally found in a NSW hospital setting for the enjoyment of all parties.

For our client Zouki, the Westmead project has resulted in spin-off dialogue with hospital networks Australia-wide. It’s a leading edge example of example of what can be achieved through collaboration between specialists – Zouki in food quality, service and presentation in health care settings and Red’s breadth of retail and hospitality master planning, branding and interior design experience and nous.

Zouki’s retail and food precinct is testament that a well presented, high quality offer that’s easy to get to courtesy of good planning and design with the customer in mind, will generate frequent return business and elevate brand.

The progressive rollout of the retail stores during the second half of 2012 will see the final pieces of the puzzle come together and wrap up our work for Zouki on this exciting project.

Here is a short video that outlines the design thinking behind Zouki Westmead