Jamie’s Dinersaurs

Artist Jay Jay Burridge has created a dinosaur-themed interior for Jamie Oliver’s latest restaurant, a pop-up diner in Picadilly.

Artist Jay Jay Burridge has created a dinosaur-themed interior for Jamie Oliver’s latest restaurant, a pop-up diner in Picadilly.

Housed in a former rib shack on Shaftesbury Avenue, Jamie’s eatery, which opened last month, is split into two venues: an upstairs diner serving gourmet comfort food including ribs, wings and shakes and hot dog bar, The Dog House, on the floor below.

Both are kitted out with neon lights and re-cycled furniture but upstairs, the space is filled with Burridge’s dinosaur prints, paintings and sculptures. A real-size Allosaurus named Lily stretches over the central stairwell, the walls are adorned with Triceratops Meat Charts and T-Rex posters; and his brightly coloured resin ‘Trainersaurus Skulls’ (below) line the bar.

Burridge has been making dinosaur art since 2010. His project, When Superstars Ruled the World, started with a display of 11 full size sculptures made out of industrial foam – including a 17-foot T-Rex drinking a cup of tea and a dinosaur rock band called The Raptors – in Beverly Hills. He’s since released prints, postcards, tea-towels and mugs, all based around the idea of placing the pre-historic giants in modern or mundane settings.

“It’s not about changing people’s perceptions – I just want to show [dinosaurs] in a different light. They’re used so much in popular culture but they haven’t ever been dulled down and made mundane,” he says in a video explaining the project (below).

 

Burridge’s diner artwork also includes ad-style posters that would usually feature cattle or horses (below). “A lot of diner’s walls are filled with aged artwork advertising circuses or rodeos that have long since left town, so we decided it would be fun to create fictional circuses and rodeos featuring dinosaurs,” he adds.

Oliver and Burridge have been toying with the idea of a dinosaur-themed diner since the launch of Burridge’s LA exhibition, and moved into the space in May. As well as creating installations, prints and merchandise, Burridge is responsible for the diner’s branding, signage and menu design.

“I started with the neon signs because I think they capture everything that’s lovely about traditional diners, and that gave us the relaxed look that we’ve tried to continue across the interior and even the staff uniforms [customised denim],” he says.

As the building will be demolished in two to three years, Oliver and Burridge weren’t able to strip the space and re-design it. Instead, they have re-used leftover seating, tables and furniture from Oliver’s other restaurants, including Barbecoa and Fifteen.

“The whole concept is based around re-cycling and that’s what pop-ups should be: a creative use of a temporary space. Traditional diners in America were housed in old railway carriages – they weren’t designed to be a clean, pristine space – and people went there for low cost, good value food,” he says.

Critics’ reviews have so far been mixed but Burridge and Oliver have designed a strong brand identity and a family-friendly space on a minimal budget, with Burridge’s feathered Allosaurus (carved out of foam using chef’s knives) taking centre stage.

“We wanted it to be light-hearted and humorous – everyone is fascinated with dinosaurs as a child so we hope it will make adults smile, too,” he says.

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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