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Latest Trends in Restaurant Design Industry It's also good to note that sometimes, people may want to eat by themselves or have a more intimate meal as a couple

By Abhishek Mathur

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A great restaurant experience is shaped by numerous aspects starting with something as simple as a warm greeting or a smile while being welcomed and ushered to your table. The concept of the restaurant introduced articulately and with élan to the guest paves the way for a personalised experience. The taste of food and home-like hospitality with a human touch ensure a memorable meal. Therefore, it becomes important for restaurant designers to be in sync with the guest's expectations and tap the creative potential of the restaurant to its fullest. With this context, here are some of the latest trends in the restaurant design industry:

Curated Experiences – Restaurant design is not just restricted to interior design anymore. From creating the concept narrative to branding, designing logos, menus, uniforms etc., each touchpoint for the guests needs to be curated and imbued with a consistent theme for a holistic gastronomic experience.

Informal Luxury – Fine dining is now being redefined as quality dining. People want informality and to have fun when eating out, but still enjoy good quality food in an atmosphere that enables them to feel relaxed and encourages them to indulge. We see a lot of more interactive & unexpected elements like repurposed objects/ pop-art etc creating a more casual environment that fosters the ongoing trend of instagramable spaces for visual consumption.

Flexibility- It seems that most restaurants are becoming cuisine agnostic which means that they offer selected but varied choices from different cuisines to their well-travelled guests. From a design perspective, this allows for a more adventurous approach where eclectic and diverse inspirations can form a unique identity for the restaurant. However, one must be careful to make sure that it doesn't result in a pastiche.

Social platform – Dining out is a social activity- People want to eat together in groups, with family or friends. A good restaurant design will encourage this. However, it's also good to note that sometimes, people may want to eat by themselves or have a more intimate meal as a couple. It is important to understand this social behaviour and design for both single and communal seating experiences.

Explore Nature- Accessorizing with indoor plants and fresh herbs creates a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. These emphasise freshness of ingredients on the menu and remind the guests to be more environmentally sensitive to their surroundings. Adding decorative accessories and botanical motifs from artworks to table linen provides a sense of a natural retreat amidst the urban chaos. In addition, a lot of restaurants are now moving towards naturally lit spaces which instil a sense of well being and provide relaxation to the guests.

Local Stories: From the ingredients in the kitchen to the artwork on the wall, there are many opportunities during the restaurant design process to celebrate the local context. Using locally sourced materials and supporting craft practices is not only environmentally responsive but also goes a long way in establishing the authenticity of the restaurant in the eyes of the guests and the community at large.

Abhishek Mathur

Director, Studio HBA

Abhishek obtained his Masters degree in Architecture from the State University of New York (SUNY), University at Buffalo where he was part of the Material Culture Research Group. He received his Bachelors degree in Architecture from T.V.B. School of Habitat Studies in New Delhi and is a registered Architect in India.

Abhishek has +10 years of professional experience as an architect & interior designer, having worked with Liminal Projects in Buffalo, New York; Matra Architects & rurban planners in New Delhi and URBNarc in Singapore before joining HBA.

At Matra, he was part of the design team for the Everest Factory complex in Roorkee which was a shortlisted entry at the World Architecture Awards held in Barcelona and won the IIA award in 2008. He also received the department chair’s scholarship at SUNY for the year 2008-2009. Recently, he was a part of the prize-winning team for the 2012 Modern Atlanta (MA) Prize & for the 2010 D3 housing design competition with Liminal Projects. At URBNarc, he was a core design team member for a 240 key beachfront resort development in Seminiyak, Indonesia (www.alilaseminyak.com) and the project architect for the Arrival Hotel project in Goa, India.

Along with his professional responsibilities at HBA, he is also involved with research projects within Singapore, India & United States that focus on the use of traditional and emerging material technologies and fabrication processes. 
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