Three new eateries and an all-new retail experience are now open at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, with design by retail specialist Lumsden Design.
The significant expansion project includes the refit of existing retail spaces and increased floorplan from 6,000 to 9,000 sq. ft. and the creation of three new cafés – The Hub Café, The Chocolate Frog Café and The Food Hall – all of which have been brought to life with the use of authentic props seen in the Harry Potter film series.
The Hub is a new lobby and entrance for the studio tour, cafe and retail spaces. On arrival, guests can visit The Hub Café and enjoy Starbucks coffee surrounded by hundreds of authentic prop potion jars seen in the Harry Potter films.
From the Hub, visitors can access two further dining spaces – The Chocolate Frog Café and The Food Hall. Serving a selection of sweets and treats, including specialty hot chocolate and ice cream, the Chocolate Frog Café celebrates confectionary from the film series.
The design includes an illuminated pentagonal canopy inspired by the ornately decorated chocolate box packaging, completed with brass detailing in a range of handmade finishes. Flanking each side of The Chocolate Frog Café hall are highly detailed 70ft-long depictions of the Marauder’s Map, a magical artefact that shows the movements of characters within the films.
The adjacent 500-cover Food Hall takes inspiration from the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Lumsden worked with the film’s original set builders to create the iconic hammerbeam vaulted ceiling with ‘floating’ candles and an illuminated night sky which rises above the dining tables.
James Dwyer, Design Director, Lumsden, said: “For a project like this, it’s important to understand that storytelling doesn’t start or stop with the tour. It starts the moment the visitor arrives and permeates all spaces from café to retail and beyond.”
The retail experience has been reconfigured as a series of shops within shops inspired by the Diagon Alley set design. The new layout allows for intelligent regrouping of products for visual storytelling and intuitive wayfinding.
“The major challenge was ensuring minimal impact to the visitors. The site never closed for more than 10 days. Despite that, we’ve elevated the existing areas and added a whole new level of experience,” says Dwyer.
From the Dark Arts area with its high vaulted ceiling and 16-ft high stained-glass window – an authentic prop used in the film series – to the Wand Shop, featuring a digital window and product demonstration area inspired by the interior of Ollivanders, each area has been meticulously detailed to enhance the visitor experience.
The culmination of the retail visit is a gallery and collectables space, a celebration of beloved character Albus Dumbledore. Inspired by the Hogwarts headmaster’s office, the centrepiece of this space is an authentic orrery prop from the set of the Hogwarts Astronomy Tower which floats above a display of high-end collectables.
“It was important to give new fans a sense of wonder and create memories they can grow up with. Likewise, for lifelong fans who grew up with the books and film series and are now seeking ‘Harry Potter’ babygrows for their own families, we wanted to give the chance to form new memories and experiences”, says Dwyer.