As a designer, the first thing I do when walking into a new place is – judge the book by the cover. Whether a shop, a bar, a restaurant or a gas station the look and feel of a place can often dictate whether or not I buy anything there, eat there or come back again. If I am spending my time and money on going out for a drink or a meal, I want atmosphere. Well designed atmosphere.
You are thinking, what a snob. To be fair I have my favorite trash bars and greasy spoons. Of course. But even these are a reflection of the experience don’t you think. I don’t go to the greasy spoon when I am craving carrot juice and sprouts (I never crave sprouts, not sure why I typed that). The classic diner floor plan is and will always be a well designed locale.
The culinary explorer in me is always peeping her head into doorways of restaurants, cafes and bars for new design inspiration. Hospitality design get to break all the rules and create rooms, themes and concepts that go way outside the lines. I have been recently researching some of these rule breakers for some new inspiration of my own. Thought I would share some of my favorites. Let me know if you have been to any of these. We all assume that with great design and loads of atmosphere that what lands on the plate will disappoint. I have found this NOT to be true more than true, but yeah, sometimes the atmosphere is the thing to go for.
A sake bar in Melbourne has walls of thick chunky rope. The rope is a playful nod to the ropes that are always around the top of the sake bottle. Way to bring out the fine details of a concept no? Randomly along the rope walls are niches that house sake bottles. Love it.
This curry house in Waterloo Station bravely goes where few chose to. The top bunk. A playful design has tiny staircases that go to an upstairs dining area. Lined up one after the other they give the appearance of a row of bunk beds at a really hip summer camp. The material is FastClamp which is used in scaffolding. Clever. However what is not clever is having a few too many cocktails and having to come down that tiny narrow staircase in heels. Could get ugly.
Nestled in the heart of Salon di Meuble (furniture row) in Milano this restaurant/cafe gives nod to its fellow furniture neighbors in a very creative way. Its like a #FF for all the furniture stores on the block. The restaurant website lists all the vendors as sponsors and gives the location as to where items can be purchased. Why didn’t I think of this?
One of the many mobile restaurants popping up on every corner, at least this one arrives in fine fashion. Lots of bling and the ice cream it serves up is a foodies dream. All homemade y of organic local ingredients you can sample flavors like Fig Honey, Prosciutto Melon or Bacon Dark Chocolate! A homerun, great design meets gourmet food.