With one more location in Dubai Marina and additional venues slated to open in London, Barcelona and Miami, Stephen Valentino, co-founder of The London Project, talked to Arabian Business about why the concept chose now to expand and what the restaurant will bring to each of its new cities
The London Project team felt as though Dubai, London and Barcelona would be the most fitting areas of expansion due to their buzzing hospitality scenes. Image: ITP Media Group
The London Project, the trendy restaurant in Dubai’s Bluewaters Island, is expanding as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease globally and people return in droves to dining out.
With one more location in Dubai Marina and additional venues slated to open in London, Barcelona and Miami, Stephen Valentino, co-founder of The London Project, talked to Arabian Business about why the concept chose now to expand and what the restaurant will bring to each of its new cities.
Why is now the time to expand in Dubai, but also in London, Barcelona and Miami?
I think now more than ever, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic, people are seeking immersive experiences, which is The London Project. The London venue itself was a natural choice and it has long been a vision of ours to be able to take the brand back to its roots. In terms of expansion in Barcelona, it really is a hub of creativity and culture, which aligns perfectly with the brand.
With the success of the flagship venue in Dubai Bluewaters and the resurgence of the food and beverage sector, we see no better time to take our disruptive approach to hospitality globally.
Stephen Valentino, co-founder of The London Project.
What makes these attractive markets?
Both London and Barcelona have their respective individuality, cultural interest, and physical beauty, which are the pillars of The London Project as a brand. In this, we felt that creating these destinations would be a natural step in the brand’s evolution.
With travel and hospitality slowly returning to its former glory, The London Project team felt as though Dubai, London and Barcelona would be the most fitting areas of expansion due to their buzzing hospitality scenes. Having said this, we also believe that post-Covid, these locations are screaming out for something that subverts the stagnated, stuffy restaurant and bar experience.
Will all the locations be exactly the same, or will they have their own identity?
Each location will embody the core pillars of The London Project, but will be tailored to each city’s character. For example, the London branch will be a floating pavilion atop London’s iconic Water Square in Canary Wharf. We wanted to create a destination that both aligned with the project and with its physical location.
For each London Project destination, there are exciting collaborations in the pipeline, which will be unique to each venue. On the food side, we are engaging with some fantastic Michelin star chefs across a number of cuisines as we add to the portfolio of The London Project brands. On the beverage side we have recently employed the number one mixologist in London to work on the bar and distillery experiences we will be rolling out.
What’s new about the new locations?
The key points of difference in the new locations will include menu changes to adapt to locally sourced ingredients, events that will align with each location’s cultural individuality, unique private dining rooms, and more. The Canary Wharf location will house three separate concepts including a gin distillery, whiskey club, and rooftop podcast studio.
For each venue, we are also working with a number of stage and set designers, not just interior designers. These experiential designers have recently worked with Billie Eilish and Kanye West, so this will bring an extravagant element to each of the new locations.
How has the brand evolved in the pandemic era, and are some of those new facets here to stay, or are you looking forward to getting back to normal?
I think more than anything the pandemic has taught us to really value our brand and the people that make it so special, which is definitely something that is here to stay. It has also allowed us to understand that an immersive customer experience will now be appreciated more than ever, so that has forced us to challenge our own creativity and drive forward our innovative concept.
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