Adding to Bull’s already impressive CV, he recently collaborated with Australian chef Sean Connolly to design the new 350-seat restaurant at the Dubai Opera. The space, in a palette of blush and grey, includes a numbers of bars, dining areas and private rooms. It comprises vaulted ceiling tiles, reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House and merino artworks by Jacqui Fink scattered across the room.
There are always important things to consider while designing a new restaurant. Just like how a person’s get-up defines his or her personality, the best design of a restaurant will reflect its grade. Display of an interior of any restaurant matters a lot. Now, why a restaurant should be carefully designed? Statistics confirm an appropriate design of a restaurant cab produce almost 300 percent of hike in the sale. Industville, which create vintage retro antique industrial lighting and furniture in the U.K., created this infographic as a guide to the psychology behind a restaurant design. The infographic defines major facets of restaurant design such as:
From a psychological point of view, one of the key aspects to a restaurant’s design is the lighting. It has to be soft and flattering to make guests feel comfortable so that they are confident and relaxed and enjoy their stay in the restaurant. We tend to do this through soft ambient lighting to complement the more targeted architectural lighting and also to suit the time of day. In my experience, the worst lighting is when there are just downlights over the tables that can cast shadows over diners faces. This can be very unflattering for guests and make them feel uncomfortable.
Krelle has some serious architectural runs on the board – his firm designed Melbourne’s Sake, Brisbane’s Fat Noodle and Canberra’s Walkter and Burley, Potts Point’s The Butler, ACME and Barangaroo’s Banksii among others – and believes, like Bull, that form always follows function. His concepts grow from a brief, a cuisine, or the story the patron wants to tell.
We also used warm copper accents, reminiscent of the copper pans used by Italian “Nonna’s” cooking pasta in many Italian kitchens. These sorts of details I think give a sense of place and set the stage for the food to shine.
It’s the small details that make a restaurant great and whilst they’re details that guests may not necessarily notice at first, they reveal themselves once you start to look in more detail and absorb your surroundings. It’s this approach that makes both the design and the process exciting for us and hopefully for the diners in our restaurant designs too!
The U.K.-based Industville produces original hand-crafted industrial lighting for home, retail stores, trendy restaurants and coffee shops.
Colour certainly plays a large part in how people feel and behave in any space and it, paired with the lighting set the mood almost entirely in a restaurant and so should be fitting for the desired ambiance and the cuisine – although I’m sure we’ve broken every rule over the years when it comes to colour!
We often go to restaurants because we like the feel of the place. But is there a psychology behind restaurant design? We ask a couple of experts.
The Independent picked his brains to find out more about how designers piece together a restaurant’s interiors.
How can you convey the sort of food that is being served in the restaurant design?
There are two crucial initial things for us that go hand in hand when first considering the design of a restaurant. The first of these, as with all of our projects, is the concept and story behind the design. This is important to us to make sure that there is a strong narrative that is carried through the details of the design, ensuring each detail plays its part but without feeling contrived or superfluous to the design.
Jeremy Bull is Principal of Alexander and Co, an award-winning multi-disciplinary architectural and interior design company that tackles residential, commercial and hospitality projects. His team is the design brains behind Sydney’s The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room, East Village Hotel and Adelaide’s Sean’s Kitchen to name a few. But whether designing for a pub, a bar or a restaurant, the core component Bull keeps in mind is that “people want to feel special in a little story”.
What are some clever psychological tricks that designers use when creating a restaurant?
Seventeen years later Parisian Antoine Beauvilliers combined the four essential ingredients for the kind of restaurant we’ve come to associate with fine dining: An elegant space, regimented waiters, a fine cellar and superior cooking. In the 1930s, restaurant design was modified and simplified. The iconoclastic ’60s signaled the democratisation of dining out, which boosted by the economic upturn of the 1980s.
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How colors affect our appetite Which scents stimulate different behaviors The three primary sections behind planning restaurant lighting How acoustics can trigger certain habits The strong considerations behind designing the interior
“You tap into a narrative that will inform the design,” says Krelle. “One element of setting an atmosphere is asking ‘what do you want to tap into?’ A sense of nostalgia, adventure, forward thinking?” When Krelle goes for dinner, he looks for those details; he notices when everything from the craftsmanship in the joinery to the positioning of the light-beam has been thought through.
Tom Strother, co-founder and creative director of interior design firm Fabled Studio, has helped top restaurants including Margot, which serves upmarket Italian food, Indian street food establishment Jamavar and Parisian-style wine bar nook Noble Rot style their insides.
The second, critical element of a restaurant’s design and the most important to any restaurant is the operations of the restaurant. How do guests arrive at the restaurant? What route does the food take from the kitchen to the guests table and how is it delivered? How many different waiters will serving the space? Making sure the operational layout works seamlessly and as effortlessly as possible for the operators of the restaurant is essential in making the restaurant a success and ensuring diners have an excellent experience. Whether a fine-dining restaurant or a more casual, quick service restaurant, each process needs to be considered in great detail so that the restaurant works as a well-oiled machine.
For Bull, the beauty of hospitality design is that the work is almost civic: “you get so many people to it,” he says. Having been raised in residential practices with lofty ambitions about changing the world, Bull loves the opportunity to create spaces that people can return to and enjoy. “In a kind of ideological starry-eyed way, it’s a commercial avenue that gives you communication with human beings.”
Architecture design Jeremy Bull restaurants Sean Connolly Stuart Krelle
(Lead image: Interior of Acme. Designer: Luchetti Krelle. Photo: Luchetti Krelle)
From the shape and squashiness of the dining chairs to the exact shade and texture of the wallpaper, a designer has revealed the lengths that go into creating the interiors of a restaurant.
The comfort level of furniture is also often used to encourage different dwell times in restaurants. With more formal dining we design furniture to support and hold the guests comfortably for long dining experiences. This obviously isn’t the case with faster turnover, more casual dining establishments.
In Food + Drink Is There A Psychology Behind Restaurant Design?
The eating out culture of recent years has pushed designers to think more creatively and on their feet. “So many people are eating out now,” Stuart Krelle of award-winning interior design firm Luchette Krelle says, “which means everyone is more savvy about what they expect. That in turn challenges designers to be even more creative and give people different experiences.”
What is the most challenging aspect of designing a restaurant?
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I think it’s important that a restaurant design doesn’t feel themed but instead picks up on subtle references to the origin of the cuisine, celebrating its heritage and complementing the food. With our recent restaurant Margot in Covent Garden, we picked up on the finessed Italian cuisine by celebrating fine Italian crafts and traditions, such as broken Palladian flooring, and paying homage to some of the more characterful great Italian designers such as Gio Ponti and Carlo Mollino.
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The biggest challenge for us is to make sure every table is a good table – whether you’ve booked months in advance for a special occasion or a last minute walk-in at a regular favourite restaurant – you should never feel hard done by. It’s interesting for us to see which tables people prefer in restaurants – different people always have different favourites. I think in a great restaurant, I want to keep going back for a different experience in different parts of the restaurant.
While fast-food joints – with their almost-cosy, utilitarian seating and fast background music – are geared towards equally fast eating; fine-dining restaurants are adorned with luxurious materials to helps customers settle in and keep ordering off the menu.
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His recent fit-out of Longrain Tokyo is reflective of this attention to detail. He used locally made joinery for its Japanese exactness, then added the iconic tiles from the Melbourne iteration of the restaurant, bar stools from Denmark, chairs from the US and artwork by Australian Christopher Hodges.
Restaurants have long been designed with people in mind – but differently to England’s tavern (a Roman-established institution that evolved into today’s pubs or ‘public houses’). As the story goes, Parisian soup vendor Monsieur Boulanger, established the first restaurant in 1765 to serve ‘restaurants’ or ‘restoratives’ – in the form of a menu, with choice – to hungry Parisians.
“There are a whole lot touch points as a human that we relate too,” he says. “If the lighting reminds you of a beautiful campfire, the food, the brand, the service can take you anywhere.”
Picture your favourite restaurant. What is it about that place that prompts you to return? Is it the smell of burnt butter and sage wafting from the kitchen? The chinking of glasses, the faint chatter of diners, or the ambient music? Is it the lighting – faint enough not to feel exposed, but poised just so – so you can actually see your meal?
Banksii. Photo: Luchetti KrelleBanksii. Photo: Luchetti KrelleBanksii. Photo: Luchetti KrelleBanksii. Photo: Luchetti KrelleBanksii. Photo: Luchetti KrelleBanksii. Photo: Luchetti Krelle
Bull, too, takes pride in brining a lot of different elements together. H prides himself on being just one cook in the proverbial restaurant-making kitchen. He sees himself as just one piece in the puzzle.
If a restaurant doesn’t work properly from a functionality point of view – it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is, it will never be a success.
Or is it the space: the high-beamed ceilings, the wooden panel-boarding, the sleek benches or the cozy fittings that make you want to sink into your chair and order another glass? Maybe it’s the ‘feel’ of it: redolent of a memory, evocative of a place. When you dine, all these factors – lighting, acoustics, food and aesthetics – have been designed with you in mind.
What is the first thing you consider when you are given a brief for designing a restaurant?
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room. Photo: Alexander & Co.