Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2019

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 5 3 Personal Space. Lofty spaces and big- impact features need to be tempered with design elements that lend a feeling of intimacy and personal space. "Guests want to feel that they are somewhat shielded from others and in their own exclusive zone when they sit down to eat at an upscale restaurant," Stroop says. "In Hell's Kitchen at Caesars Palace, a passion project we worked on for celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, as well as at Waterside District in Norfolk, Va., we had screens and bookshelves and clever divi- sions.‡In Atlantis Sanya, we used artwork to di- vide a central dining venue from the surrounding circulation space, effectively creating a restau- rant within a restaurant. These same art panels also lend privacy between seating groups." Furnishings, too, can be selected to give guests a feeling of personal space, Stroop adds. Durability matters, but quality and craftsmanship are paramount as are details such as proper table and chair heights. "We do mock-ups, a lot of testing and prototyping to get those heights and the ratio between them right," he says. "It's impor- tant in any restaurant but especially critical in Œne dining." And, while other segments may be seeing dining-room spaces shrink, that's not the case in Œne dining. "The spatial requirements for Œne dining haven't changed. Guests at these restaurants typically spend a lot more time at the tables. Materiality and Œnishes become really important, and guests need and deserve more space around them in order to be comfortable, have private conversations and enjoy the full experience," Stroop says. Solutions: Different 'ooring types to break a space down into smaller zones, custom screens that incorporate art and/ or subtle branding, bookcases, artistic suspended panels, drapes, partial walls, high-back banquettes, right-size/right- height tables and chairs Multiple Experiences. Fine-dining patrons increasingly appreciate the ability to enjoy different experiences with multiple visits to a single restaurant, depending on their mood or the occasion. "In several projects, we've created various rooms, each of which has a distinct 'avor thanks to differ- ent design approaches and materials used. They might be of equal weight in terms of their level of luxury — or one area might be very exclusive and high-end, while another might be a bit more casual," Stroop says. "We also often use screens that pocket into walls to give an operator more 'exibility to create different zones or areas within a single space," Stroop adds. "When they're fully open, they can act as art pieces, but when you close them, they can divide a room and create privacy. And we enjoy creating a focal point for each subdivided room. It can be as simple as an interesting wall Œnish dramatically grazed with light or a soaring bookshelf kitted out with hand-curated accessories that accentuate the concept or have local relevance. It's fun from a design perspective because you can have more than just one point of view." Solutions: Cohesive but varied design approaches to different areas (furnishing styles, 'ooring materials, colors, lighting, artwork), screens or partitions that can be expanded or hidden to create 'exible room conŒgurations, curated ac- cessories that give each area a distinct 'avor + A series of cascading light xtures holds court above the dining room at Sequoia in Washington, D.C., adding wow factor and Instagram worthiness to the soaring space. Image courtesy of Eric Laignel At the Atlantis Sanya resort in Hainan, China, the design team used art panels to separate a central dining area in the property's signature TANG Cantonese restaurant from the surrounding circulation space. The same panels lend privacy between seating. Image courtesy of Owen Raggett

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