Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 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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M A Y / J U N E 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 • 4 3 graphed are a mural and the backbar. "The mural in the main dining room draws so much attention because it complements architectural features in the space," Yu says. An example is that the pattern in the mural is directly inspired by the geometry (showing the triangular cuts made by a coa on agave) in the back bar. "Additionally, the mural is on a curved focal wall, which natu- rally makes it the center of attention." Neither of these, she says, were created with just social media in mind but as part of the design as a whole. There's even a Oaxacan feel to the bathrooms. Using weavings and textiles, Yu created a tile pattern for the bathroom wall. "A lot of people pose there and like the pattern because it's so bright," she says. The Embedded Experience Another project Yu worked on is The Miranda bar in Oakland, Calif., which has a wall featuring giant yellow poppies that gets flagged a lot on social media. "We fell in love with the idea of doing a poppy wall," Yu explains. "As the poppy is Cali- fornia's state flower, we thought it was a nice nod to California pride without being too obvious. We didn't find any poppy wallpaper we liked, so it was custom. We did expect the wall to get a lot of attention — it's bright and is an easily recognizable feature that people are drawn to." In Yu's opinion, there are two types of social media moments in a restau- rant: the obvious (like the photobooth and the chicken) and the more subtle (like Agave's Oaxacan-inspired pat- terns). "I think you need to have both," she says. "You want the recognizable one to make it easy for guests and the other to make them feel they've dug it out and discovered a detail." FRCH also sees both types. An about-turn from its obvious social media moment at KFC is Holler & Dash, a fast- casual Southern biscuit concept the de- sign firm worked on. "Here, we are more passive with social media," says McCau- ley. "We try to embed details through the space from the macro level to micro, and guests can find these for themselves." The Holler & Dash Atlanta location is next to an old railroad, so railroad ties are embedded throughout, and the en- tire location has an industrial aesthetic. Tables are varied from concrete to wooden and some even sport a custom graphic made from wheat paste "to serve as dynamic staging opportunities to inspire guests to photograph and share their meal," McCauley says. Social media has not necessarily changed how FRCH designs restaurants, but it led them to think a little differently. "We might look at the tabletop finish, and knowing we have social media and that people will be taking photos of their food, it makes us think of how it will lend itself," McCauley explains. More clients than ever are com- ing to Aria Group in Oak Park, Ill., and asking for social media moments, says Nicole Poole, associate and project architectural designer. Recently, she's worked on Salads UP, which has two locations: in Ann Arbor, Mich., and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The Ann Arbor location has a huge mural outside that people love to take photos in front of, according to Poole. "We weaved in that concept to create a patterning of wall covering graphics inside the Madison location," she says. "The pattern was based on nature, and we extruded the idea of plant cells to create different triangle components within the space — and it's become a place where people take photos." The bold, energetic colors and patterns make for a great photo back- drop, she adds. There are two feature walls inside at the university: The first is a bookshelf wall, which has a lot of vertical divisions and different patternings; the second is by the ordering area and the entrance and features the triangular patterns. In the Ann Arbor location, there's an artificial grass turf wall by the bath- rooms. The turf spells out "S'UP," and this wall is a regular fixture on social media, Poole says. "We played up green tones to tie into the salad concept." But what's important is that all these elements, while attracting a lot of social media attention, "all stand on their own but tie in to the overall concept too, which is the idea of fresh," Poole says. "We wanted a branded pattern throughout." At Agave in Oakland, Calif., the social media moments are woven in to create a cohesive yet authentic Oaxacan experience for guests. Image courtesy of Aubrie Pick

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