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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6 4 • 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 • J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 Form + Function Safety Flooring needs to look good in a restau- rant, but safety serves as a key consid- eration in both the front and back of the house. Guests and employees must not slip on floors, regardless of the weather. Slips, trips and falls are common causes of work injuries, so preventing them should also be a top priority. In the restaurant itself, highly patterned tiles offer more resistance against slipping as does the grout in between them. "You get a lot of texture in a pattern layout," says McCaul. "And with smaller-format tiles, there are grout lines, providing friction." She points out that both porcelain and ceramic tiles offer about the same re- sistance, and the aesthetics are getting better every year, with designers ensur- ing the repeats on the patterns are so large that you don't notice that it's not real wood or stone, for example. MMA flooring works well in back- of-house applications. This flooring features pulverized quartz, says Payne, "which gives the floor a pretty substan- tial abrasive content." Creating Zones with Flooring Beyond aesthetics and slip resistance, flooring can have a further function: It can help designers create intimate zones within the overall space. Ardoin worked on designing the floors at Proxi, which opened in Chicago last June. It was important to use the flooring to accentuate the three distinct areas: dining room, lounge and bar. For the lounge, the team selected a blue patterned carpet, "which brings the mood down and says, 'Stay and hang out a while,'" Ardoin says. Since Proxi mostly uses this area to serve drinks, she wasn't overly concerned about possible food spills. But just in case, she opted for a 100 percent wool carpet, "which is the most durable flexible fiber available," she says. Ad- ditionally, the carpet's low, tight loop construction holds up well and conceals foot traffic, and the short pile shows the movement of the carpet fibers. In the nearby bar, Ardoin selected concrete tile. "We wanted a pattern that spoke to a different place and gave a strong visual for the bar," she says. It was important that the bar feature concrete tile "because it starts to wear away, and eventually it will feel like it's been there for years to add another layer of detail." For the dining area, the Meyer Da- vis team selected a 10-inch engineered oak wood floor with lots of knots in it "because it takes the mood down and brings a residential feel," Ardoin says. "It's quieter, more forgiving." Some- times, she explains, restaurants can get a wear track down the main path of the dining room, but she opted for a wax finish on this floor instead of a poly fin- ish, "so it's easy to re-wax it rather than sand it down and re-poly it." Toward the back of the space, in the back hallway that leads to the bathrooms, the Meyer Davis team had intended to use the same concrete tile as the bar. Upon realizing that area gets a lot of traffic, they switched to a herringbone-patterned porcelain tile with a high variation in color. "The smaller tile helps because it has a high variation and helps mask that traffic," Ardoin explains. Ultimately, understanding the right flooring material for the application is key. + For the lounge at Proxi, the team selected a 100 percent wool carpet. It features a tight loop construction that will hold up well and conceal foot traffic while providing a clear indication of a separate zone.

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