Studiomama has just completed the transformation of Ottolenghi’s test kitchen into a multi-use environment, with desks/workstations, a professional kitchen, a photo studio and materials library – all with more usable space, daylight and flexibility.

The brief from Ottolenghi
‘You never know when you will move on – so let’s make something that is
sustainable, affordable and can move along with us. The nature of a test kitchen
is that it is flexible and we can quick and easy changes the feel of the

Quote  from Ottolenghi
Nina and her Studiomama team managed to transform our test kitchen from a nondescript industrial unit under a grubby railway arch line into a sunny, happy space, where the functionality is perfectly adjusted to our needs: recipes testing, food photography and office work. Simply being in the room is now a joy. Top professionalism! Yotam Ottolenghi

As a post lock-down summer project – Studiomama used off-the-shelf building material and up-cycled and re-invented the existing catering equipment. The space is located in a railway arch in north London and the fabric of the building couldn’t be altered – so to tie the space together they painted the existing window grid bright yellow and used matching yellow edging for all the ply. Also the 2mm impact-resistant yellow edging gave the otherwise soft material the protection and durability it needs.

The staircase entrance has a colour splash of dyed ply which creates a visual reference to colour of spices and Ottolenghi’s signature raspberry meringues.

Studiomama also changed the light fittings to cost-effective LED dimmable lights that sit closer to the ceiling and add to the greater sense of space. A red hanging lamp by Muller Van Severen echos the shape of the arch and gives light to the desk table. 

The space has two separate and inter-connected functions with office/desk work and cooking happening simultaneously. They made a clear division between the two, with the kitchen part in stainless steel with grey food safe flooring (that fits all requirements for a commercial kitchen) and a warm colourful studio space with an extensive library of cookbooks as well as desk spaces. For social distancing the cooking area and workstations face the same direction and the kitchen islands have also been enlarged to ensure social distancing while working or gathering.

More daylight and extra floor space was gained by cleverly extending the mezzanine over the staircase. The extra space made it possible to create a photo studio for documenting new recipes. Studiomama also created in one of the storage units, a materials library containing different backgrounds that can be used for photographing new dishes.

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Studiomama is an East London-based multidisciplinary design studio founded by the creative couple Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama.

Client: Ottolenghi
Photography: moonraystudio
Carpenter: Armariadesign

Ottolenghi test kitchen 2020