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Sky Central

Creating food as a destination was central to Sky’s objective and this was reflected in the design put forward by IFSE in collaboration with Gather and Gather


Founded in 1990 and with over 11 million pay-TV subscribers, Sky is the second largest provider of television and internet services in the UK. Globally, Sky Plc operates 7 subsidiaries across Europe and the United States with a total of 21 million pay-TV subscribers and a market capitalisation of £16 billion in 2015.

Sky recently re-housed 3,000 of its employees into a new building specially designed to create a modern, amenity-rich workspace that reflects Sky’s multi-modal flexible way of working. It’s the latest addition to Sky’s Osterley Campus in West London, and has acted as an important catalyst in the broadcaster’s on-going plan stitch the various buildings on the campus together to create Sky Central.


Creating a Food Destination

Creating food as a destination was central to Sky’s objective and this was reflected in the design put forward by IFSE in collaboration with Gather and Gather, the catering partner and Sedley Place, the design consultants. Each food and beverage area would represent its own unique flare, giving staff and guests alike a distinct experience every time. For Sky, the design spoke to the push towards health and wellbeing at work, making eating and drinking and important part of the work experience.

In total, there were seven catering areas created within the new, eco-friendly building: 19° East Café, The Sky Cinema Café, The Garden, The Dining Room, The Restaurant, Sky Street and various smaller café’s for staff in the first and second floor workspaces.


19° East Café

The main quick service coffee bar was created in the building’s reception that acted as the focal point of the entrance. The large servery bridged the ‘airside’ and ‘landside’ areas which allowed visitors to relax with a drink while waiting for their meetings and employees to pick up their own refreshments, prior to finding an informal meeting place to sit down.

Originality was the design focus at 19° East, and this was translated into the design with a map of the main coffee harvesting locations in South America and Africa. This design fitted into Sky’s drive to promote health and wellbeing, with only original and fair-trade coffee and other food products being freshly sourced.


The Sky Cinema

Within Sky’s own movie screening room, IFSE constructed a classic catering area which included fresh popcorn dispensers and traditional sweets and refreshments. The visual language of the cinema displays and foyer counters created a relaxing movie environment for visitors and staff to enjoy at movie premiers.

Bespoke lighting with an industrial feel was fitted above the counter to illuminate the food offering and grab the visitor’s attention. Behind the counter featured a marble effect mirror, making the area feel bigger and brighter.


The Garden

The Garden café was created as a testament to Sky’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its staff. Healthy, freshly prepared juices and smoothies were at the top of the menu, with the food offering consisting of ‘low fat’, ’low salt’, ‘low sugar’, ‘low calories’ options for health-conscious employees. Freshly made salads were also made to order.

The Garden Café also featured a glass, walk-in produce room, on display as a centre piece to the design of the area; further displaying Sky’s commitment to well being.


Dining Room

The Dining Room is the largest of the catering spaces within Sky Central. With capacity to seat 375 people at one time and serve over 1,700 meals during the peak three-hour period. Offering more traditional food and beverages, the food is freshly prepared daily, in the IFSE designed kitchen.

High capacity Rational combi ovens were used to meet the demand of the restaurants. High efficiency Winterhalter refrigeration was used to maximise efficiency savings ensuring the newly constructed building kept up to its green credentials. Heavy duty and reliable Electrolux prime cooking equipment was specified to ensure that the kitchen would operate at full capacity at all times.


Steve Land, executive chef for Sky said Every chef and catering operator dreams of a space that really works. The kitchen and restaurant areas meet our requirements and then some.


To cope with the high volumes, the food is served from three counters, each with two till points and two dedicated servers. To counter heavy wear and tear, the floor employs porcelain stone walkways, with patterned tiles placed in a characterful style in the high footfall areas, completed with real bleached timber flooring in the seating spaces.

The front of house counters were bespoke for Sky, build to continue to the design and ‘feel’ of the building, all of the way through to the servery. Front of house equipment included Blizzard bottle coolers and Winterhalter under counter refrigeration.

To gain as much height as possible, the interior designers created a space which featured specially built overhead baffles to combat noise travel and help with the space’s acoustics.


The Restaurant

Within the first quarter of The Dining Room, The Restaurant provides a fine-dining experience with upmarket food offering, menus and table service to cater for more formal meetings and engagements. Building flexibility into the design, The Restaurant can be segregated from the rest of the Dining Room using a specially designed brass mesh curtain.

The Restaurant space features its very own bespoke service counter and open kitchen so that the diners can have an engaging experience watching the food being freshly prepared.


The Barn and The Shed

The Barn and The Shed were the final two quick service catering areas to be built, providing easily accessible food and beverage options for staff looking to grab a quick soup, stew or ambient food to take back to their desk.

Both areas were polished off with furniture of assorted styles and sizes to enable employees to find something comfortable and suited to their preference or activity.


The feedback on the catering areas were “overwhelming positive” according to Chris Stylianou, Sky’s chief operating officer.



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