Ichiba, Europe’s largest Japanese food hall is coming to Westfield in Shepherds Bush. The 17000 sq.ft space will open on 14th July 2018
The Japan Centre is one of the UK’s largest Japanese brands and has been operating and growing for over 40 years both online and at retail. First there was the Japan Centre on Panton Street, now, the Japanese online marketplace and retailer are launching Europe’s largest food hall at Westfield London in collaboration with the Cool Fund Japan.
Japan Centre CEO Tak Tokumine has added: “I am delighted to announce this new concept for people to experience Japanese food culture at Westfield London. Ichiba will be a dynamic and inspiring addition to the expanded centre and retail landscape in the Capital.”
So, what will this new Japanese ‘depachika’, or “basement foodstuff market”, contain?
- Food stations will offer ever offer everything from katsu curries to sushi and sashimi and authentic street food including takoyaki, tempura and noodles made fresh to order
- Experience is key to the new concept format: Theatre, seating and space for over 200 covers will provide enough room for the changing schedule of weekly cooking demos and workshows, events, regional food and drink festivals and sake tasting seminars. Guests will also be able to dine on an outdoor terrace
- The aim is to provide a contemporary twist on traditional Japanese elements with in-store surroundings to support the quality of the food
- Japanese-style paper structures, flags and traditional fabrics will break up the space, while lights inspired by chopsticks, lanterns and traditional wooden elements will help customers navigate the zones of the store
Leading the way for Westfield
The new Westfield extension is costing £600m and Ichiba will play a leading role in its development. For their money, Westfield are investing in producing a world class experience that will exist 10 years into the future.
According to Keith Mabbett, Director of Leasing, Westfield UK and Europe, “The arrival of Ichiba this summer will give visitors the opportunity to get a taste of Japanese cuisine and culture in a unique way.”
Tech is crucial to Westfield’s approach:
- Eye scanners will bring up entry info about a visitor’s previous purchase will recommend personalised fast-lanes
- Smart changing rooms will show shoppers wearing suggested clothes and accessories
- Smart loos that offer recommendations on hydration and nutrition
- Spaces for delivery drones overhead
- Digital walkways
Ichiba itself meets this dynamic, optimistic approach by offering a rotating roster of experiences, classes, tastings and much more.
We are extremely excited to share Ichiba with the world from 14th July. As a long-term design partner of the Japan Centre Group, we are very proud to represent their vision.
If you’d like to speak with us about how we can help bring your concept to life, speak with us today.