Better by design

Olli Group’s interior design team, led by Rachel Hollington recently featured in Praesepe’s magazine.

Olli Group have started a refurbishment program on Praesepe’s portfolio of AGCs (Adult Gaming Centres), and the results have left everyone impressed. I wanted to take some photographs to document the transformation, and when I travelled to the recently refurbished Cashino in Peckham,  I was able to talk to customers and staff about the new look. Everyone was very pleased with the change.

“Oh, it’s much better than it was,” said one customer, “it’s just a much nicer place to come into now.”

The staff were keen to show me how the lighting can change colour and give the space a different mood, and the huge digital fishtank.

“In the winter we can have a roaring log fire, and in the summer it can be a fishtank.”

There were lots of thoughtful features that went into creating the overall look and feel that people found so attractive. Here’s the full report from Praesepe Magazine:

Better by design

From Praesepe magazine

Detail of perspex skylight with glitter border

The Olli Group, a family-run business who specialise in providing quality refurbishment, repairs and maintenance services, were recently commissioned to overhaul the Shepherd’s Bush Cashino. The brief was to be ‘disruptive’ and rip up the rulebook of AGC design. Commenting on her approach to its unique design, Interior Designer, Rachel Hollington, said : “When we started the project we were told in no uncertain terms to tear it up and start again so I wanted to make a big statement and change how we see a normal arcade space.” In researching the project, Rachel looked at the Wynn Casinos in Las Vegas and the work of its Vice President, Roger Thomas, who she believes leads the way in design for the industry. She explained: “Wynn’s motto is they always do the opposite to what’s normal and I really took that to heart for this project, breaking away from typically masculine, angular shapes and hard surfaces in arcades especially with research showing that the industry is becoming more feminine. Our redesign is full of curves from floor to ceiling and includes a series of hanging coloured Perspex shapes which, like a skylight, brings in light.”

The West London-based Cashino is a large space and redesigning it from scratch was a daunting task for Rachel, but she claims high street venues are the ones she really loves. She said: “It’s exciting to have a larger canvas where you can really see the before and after but there were times I thought to myself, ‘is this going to work?’ But Praesepe were fantastic clients to work with and Nick has a great vision, letting me work freely but with enough guidance to feel comfortable trying unique ideas. The gaming industry is a very niche market so his ideas were key elements of getting the feel just right.

Carpets with special UV sensitive inks

“I wanted to make a big statement and change how we see a normal AGC space”

Three machines with mood lighting set to purple

One such idea Praesepe suggested involved the new carpets, which help guide customers around the space, and  Rachel liked the idea of trialling something a bit different. She explained : “We knew we wanted the carpets to be a feature but the client really pushed me to go one step further with them by testing out special inks which pick up the LED and UV lighting. The effect of these means the carpet becomes 3D under certain light changes, which looks amazing and helps the flow of people through the venue. I’m also really proud of the lighting in Shepherd’s Bush which is totally adaptable so staff can set the lighting to any colour they choose for each day which in turn changes the carpet, giving the venue a different vibe every day.”

The Olli Group conduct their own regular PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) checks after installation, which includes a full quality check each month, and feedback for the Shepherd’s Bush venue has been overwhelmingly positive so far, something which Rachel believes is down to a focus on both staff and customers alike. “Happy staff means happy customers so we’ve definitely focused on providing fresh new spaces for the people who work in the venue,” she said. “The old staff room was a bit dingy so we designed a comfortable and bright new space for the staff which has gone down really well. Also, we focused on the smoking area which we transformed with LED lights and a lovely injection of pink which ties the venue design both inside out.Following on from Shepherd’s Bush, Rachel will be working on the Romford venue. She added: ‘‘I’m looking forward to working on Romford and I’ve got some really exciting ideas. Part of the design element we used in Shepherd’s Bush means that we can make every single venue unique whilst maintaining the company brand so even though Romford will have a unique feel, when you walk in you’ll always know it’s a Praesepe venue.”

Detail of glitter stripes
Shows the skylight, glitter stripes and mood lighting (here set to white)
Three machines with 3d carpet and glitter curve
Wall art in corridor at Peckham branch