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Tomorrow’s Specials

Slide into that booth or belly up the bar to learn what’s next for restaurant design. You’ll know before the maître d’ does.

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Rob Wagemans, founder and creative director, Concrete Architectural Associates
“Some restaurants will become molecular laboratories of tastes (think El Bulli), but others will be honest, pure, simple, robust, and all about the true taste and quality of the ingredients; the design will reflect this by showcasing the food above all else.”

George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, restaurant designers and founders,Yabu Pushelberg
“Our eating habits are less formalized—–smaller portions and eating on the run are the norm. We’ll see more mobile restaurants. The notion of chefs doing street food in traveling trucks is interesting.”

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Sir Terence Conran

Sir Terence Conran, legendary British designer, retailer, and restaurateur
“Restaurants that have truly stood the test of time are those that haven’t chased the latest trends, which fluctuate like hemlines and give little lasting pleasure. Restaurants that feel warm, comfortable, and have their own character and personality that comes through in the design, the service, and most importantly the food. Without good food, what is a restaurant?”

Gerardo Olvera, design associate, Isometrix Lighting and Design
“Lighting systems will be more sustainable, LED will replace halogen, there will be a difficult transition period where it’s not possible to achieve the same effects, but in the future LEDs will get purer, more natural, and realistic.” 

Alec Zaballero,principal, TPG Architecture
“Increasingly it will be about authenticity of experience and therefore of the food and the materials. It’s going to be more personal and authentic.”

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Tim Mutton, cofounder and managing director of Blacksheep, a hospitatliy and design firm
“Real food will be the new luxury and only served at fully sustainable ‘real food’ restaurants that are incredibly expensive. Security and technology will replace the maître d’ with ‘real food detectors’ built into entrance lobbies to deter diners from stealing produce to sell on the open organic f(ood)-bay website at vast, inflated sums.”

Peter Bentel, partner, Bentel & Bentel
“Restaurants perform the role of social engines. We have noticed a turning away from ‘fancy’ restaurants and a move towards more egalitarian establishments. A wider array of social classes are dining together. Is this melting pot the future, or just a snapshot of the current times? Only time will tell.”

Cass Calder Smith, principal and CEO, CCS Architecture

“For front of house, there’ll be smarter ways of ordering, giving more control to the customer, like ordering and paying simply by waving your iPhone at the waiter… there’s an app for that.”

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David Collins, architect and principal, David Collins Studio
“There is a desire for artisan brands in food and restaurants to go global. This is ultimately about the level of service that consumers can expect from luxury brands and services. To establish these brands in new territories, the look of the brand will adapt to the characteristics of the locale.”

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    An Introduction to Restaurant Design

    Eating has always been a sociable event, from primitive campfire cooking to reclining on lectuli at lavish Greek and Roman banquets. However, although taverns and inns had always existed, the restaurant as an institution didn’t fully emerge until the 17th century. The word “restaurant” initially appeared in the 16th century, meaning a restorative broth, but by 1771 the term had mutated to refer to an “establishment specializing in the sale of restorative foods” as well. Like so much in culinary history, the Parisians owned the sophisticated version of the concept as American and British visitors marveled at the phenomenon.

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