Bella Italia undertake refurbishment!

Bella Italia are fast growing, and have opened 22 restaurants in the last calendar year, with the most recent one in East Kilbride shopping centre in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. 


The authentic Italian chain has a portfolio of 111 restaurants in the UK. As a part of the Casual Dining Group, the brand has undertaken a design project to refurbish their restaurants to a fresh updated look. The Casual Dining Group is one of the largest independent restaurant companies in the UK with almost 300 sites across the country and operates other much loved restaurants such as Café Rouge, La Tasca and Las Iguanas.


Keane Design took on the challenge to design a fresh and interesting new interior that is in-keeping with the new image that Bella Italia owners wanted to show off.  With a team made up of interior designers, conceptualisers, graphic designers and marketeers, the company has a history of rolling-out excellent branded designs perfect for their clients. The company have worked with a wide range of companies within the hospitality industry. 


“Detailed design schemes, FF&E schedules, mood boards etc. are produced,” commented Michael Keeney, Projects Director at Keane Brands, “Those are all agreed and signed off internally. Once agreed a full set of detailed drawings are then produced for tender and Local Authority approvals (planning, listed building consent, advertisement consent etc.).”


Combining contemporary design with the use of bespoke features, the team at Keane Design have created a vibrant and colourful new look for Bella Italia. The new interior design being rolled out across the restaurants is a stylish and bright look with hints of rustic authenticity from materials such as wooden panelling. For the Newcastle site, Interiors UK were used as the main contractors in order to develop the design with Medlock as the main contractors for the East Kilbride site.


“There was a lot of research done in the build up to help with the direction of the menu offer, the design, the look, and the feel of the restaurant as well as the site locations and demographics of the visitors. Even down to things like the music that plays in the restaurant, the design on the hoardings across the restaurant during fit out, or the type of till system that is used,” added Michael. “A lot of what came out of the research had a major impact on the look of the two restaurants, the type of seats, the wall finishes, the food and drink offer, and even the signage were all affected.”


The interior of both sites uses the classic Bella Italia colour swashes colours of red, yellow, green and blue in order to give life to their design. Distressed red and green leather seating booths create a comfortable place for customers to dine and enjoy the restaurant’s authentic Italian cuisine.


Within the interior design of the sites, rustic wooden panelling is used throughout on the walls and, in the case of the Newcastle site, the flooring as well. Exposed brickwork is also a staple of Bella Italia with painted motifs like the lemons that border the Newcastle interior adding a sense of fun to the restaurants as well as framed artwork linking to the restaurant’s Italian heritage that is also used in the East Kilbride site. Statement walls that feature bold and striking patterns contrast with the exposed brick to create a sense of warmth in the interior that is a staple in the new Bella Italia image.


Pendant lighting from Northern Lights are used as a key element to launch fun twists into the interior with the use of the Bella Italia colour scheme. Other fun touches are added with lights made from wine bottles at the East Kilbride restaurant. As both sites sit within shopping centres, wooden panelled planters, with a range of plant life, fashion seating areas that allow customers to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the mall whilst dining.


“We learned a lot about what type of customers most use a Bella Italia and their preferences on the brand,” commented Michael, “In addition to that there’s a lot going on within the Bella/CDG marketing, media, personnel, IT, liabilities, procurement, operations and property teams to ensure maximum exposure for the venue opening and to make sure that each venue opening is a success.”


 Image source: Bella Italia