Restaurant Development & Design

JAN-FEB 2018

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 A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 • 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 • 6 1 his team simply contacts the client's IT manager to communicate everything that needs to be installed on the client's de- vices. In cases where that sort of support isn't available, it can take significantly more time and effort on the design team's end to ensure that the client will be able to view the models. "We're trying to work on ways to visually explain the process and what they need to do on their end if they don't have a strong IT department," Liddil says. "But in general, it's really important at the start of a project to find out what devices and operating sys- tems they have. That way, we can cus- tomize what we're doing so that when they get on their old computer that uses Windows XP from almost 15 years ago, the models will still work." When designing Book & Bourbon Southern Kitchen, a new full-service restaurant by HMSHost at Louisville Airport, Liddil's team built a full virtual model with fly-through animation, im- mersing the client via iPads and Google cardboard in the interactive, 3-D virtual environment. Compared with traditional methods of rendering and creating fly- throughs, time savings were huge. "If we were to have used old-school methods for Book & Bourbon, it would have taken about 300 hours to send it out to a render farm," Liddil notes. "That's time that we have to charge for. But with the virtual model, everything is baked in and changes can be made in real time. They've now come back to us asking if we can do the same thing for the back of the house to increase efficiency. We're doing some augmented reality with an iPad and a virtual reality model so they can actually move equip- ment around in the back of house and see what feels too tight and what doesn't in real time. And we can add program- ming. For example, we can program it so that if someone clicks on a piece of equipment, they can access a PDF for information about its maintenance requirements and contacts." Going forward, Arora and Liddil expect the pace of adoption of high- tech design solutions for restaurant projects to accelerate. And like every- thing tech-related, they look forward to significant enhancements and more cloud-enabled mobility. One advancement Liddil expects is greater use of augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality, a combination of virtual and augmented. "You'll be able to see the entire space and what it's going to look like and people walking through using crowd or traffic simulation," he says. "All that kind of stuff will come pretty instantly through augmented reality. Virtual will still be used, but I think AR will actually be used a lot more because there is a lot more than can be programmed in. For instance, we could program 200 people coming into a space over the next half an hour and see what happens, where the backups are." Arora, too, expects augmented reality to become more prominent as a design tool, in part because it doesn't require a headset. He points to retail companies such as IKEA, which uses AR and virtual 3-D modeling to let customers add fixtures, furnishing or accessories to spaces for a visual "try before you buy" experience, as an indi- cation of how mainstream the technol- ogy is becoming. As for those goofy-looking headsets, Arora says that despite their benefits they bring challenges of their own. For one, some people experience nausea when using them. Determining client comfort level is important, as is always being prepared to offer alternative ways to view the models, he says. Arora's team is also working on ways to overcome the constraints of vir- tual reality headsets, which he says are currently a single-person experience. "We're trying to create a solution that allows a group of people to collabora- tively be inside the same model and see each other's avatars or presentations and discuss and make changes in real time," he says. "Physically, they may not even be in the same location, but they could all still get inside the virtual model. Because, despite all of the advancements and changes, the basics are the same: Design still starts with a sketch and will always be a collabora- tive process." + In designing Book & Bourbon at Louisville Airport, Chute Gerdeman's Digital Design Lab team utilized interactive, 3-D virtual modeling and fly-through animation to help the client visualize the design and make changes in real time. The image on page 60 is a screen grab taken from the virtual model; the photo above shows the finished space. Images courtesy of Chute Gerdeman

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