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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5 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 • M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 How To Create Timeless Designs By Dana Tanyeri W e've all seen (and some of us have written) breath- less headlines like: "What's Hot in Restaurant Design Right Now!" or "6 Big Trends Shaping Restaurant Interiors." There's no end to what's on trend — and what's not. For anyone involved in the develop- ment and design side of the restaurant industry, such articles and insights are irresistible. And staying on top of trends is critical to ensure that concepts and designs remain relevant. Chasing trends without at least an equal focus on lon- gevity, however, is both risky and costly. Why? Because trends shift, some- times falling out of favor more quickly than operators are willing or able to keep pace. That's particularly true on the chain side, where change requires significantly more time and effort to implement, but the scenario impacts every operator making a significant investment in design. Kristin Hefty, AIA, LEED, partner at DADO Group in San Antonio, Texas, agrees, adding that the trick for design- ers is finding the right balance between fresh, on-trend and timeless. "Restau- rants are a funny business because they always want to be the new cool thing, but you don't want to design some- thing that could be passé in two to five years," she says. "You can do modern takes on a particular vernacular, but it does need to be somewhat timeless." Structure, Materials Matter Hefty's core strategy for achieving timelessness begins with open, "hon- est" architecture followed closely by what she calls truth in materials. "Doing open architecture can actu- ally be more complicated. In so many buildings now, everything's meant to be covered up," says Hefty. "Subcontrac- tors get used to that, and their work sometimes isn't as precise because the structure is not exposed. But with more open architecture, the structure — framing elements, connections, etc. — becomes an integral part of the decor. Subconsciously, when done well and very intentionally, those foundational elements help to create timelessness because you're not just putting lipstick on a space." That's the approach Hefty and her team used recently at Signature in San Antonio. A remodel of a former golf academy and pro shop building, the project involved peeling back portions of the existing building and rebuilding it, exposing the new construction in the process. The result is a more authentic, timeless space suited to the owners' vision for a classic restaurant offering contemporary interpretations of tradi- tional Texas Hill Country elements. What originally looked like a cu- pola above the entry from the exterior, for example, was just a flat, 14-foot Signature's zinc bar top was chosen in part because it will weather and show marks, adding to the space's comfortable, lived-in look and feel. Image courtesy of Jason Risner

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