The cross-pollination between the synergy of food and design has happened. Avant-garde designers are moving away from conformist design ideas and chiming in the long lost knowledge of food sourcing, preparation, presentation and consumption in sketching out restaurant blue-prints, planning spatial layouts and setting up the décor with a view to create an enhanced customer experience. In doing so, they’re going back to the roots and weighing in cultural elements that defined age-old culinary and dining experiences, with increased focus on environmental and social sustainability, which was a big part of the lifestyle and community culture centuries ago.
Let’s take a look at a few factors that have brought food and design closer than ever before:
The Changing Character of the Kitchen
The kitchen is no longer a space used solely to cook food; it is slowly merging with the living and entertainment spaces and taking on a more socio-cultural character. The conventional spatial difference between cooking and eating has dissolved. From being a single-use room, the kitchen has truly evolved into a space equipped with state-of-the-art worktops and modern cooking tools as well as comfortable sofa sets and TV screens – a space where the entire family can cook, eat and enjoy together – as the native communities did all those millenniums ago.
The way we eat food has also influenced the design and architecture of the spaces where meals are prepared, served out and stored; restaurants too have undergone this transformation! These days, quick service restaurants as well as fine dining spaces feature ‘live kitchens’, where diners can not only pick and choose what they want to eat, but can also watch how their meals are being prepared. At the same time, other attractions such as relaxing lounge seats, bookshelves, audio-visual media, board games, in-house computers or iPods and in-house aquariums or terrace gardens keep the customers engaged, as they wait for their order – just like in the modern kitchen-cum-dining room in our own homes!
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Focus on Sustainability
Sustainability has indeed become an important factor in the new value chain, where customers expect absolute honesty and transparency about the origin of the food items listed on the menus.
This growing consciousness about environmental and social sustainability in the foodservice business has brought restaurant owners, chefs and designers closer than ever before. Where business owners are looking into sourcing locally and ethically produced food supplies in order to reduce carbon footprint and support the local farming communities, chefs are promoting the ‘farm to fork’ concept by using only farm fresh ingredients in their preparations and designers are using bio-degradable building materials to create attractive and eco-friendly shop concepts that endorse better energy management and create zero waste. Together, they are changing the way food has been sourced, prepared and consumed over the decades.
They say man is a social animal. But when we look around and find people of all age groups peering into their mobile screens, we wonder why we’re more drawn to the virtual world than to real people! Well, all that is about to change.
Modern restaurant concept designs are all about real interaction. Designers are enthusiastic about creating warm and friendly environments with something for everyone to do. At these new spaces, people can interact with each other, relate to the space and objects around them and enjoy a more meaningful and enhanced experience. The days of passive dining are over; with food and design coming together it’s all about creating social and emotional connections!
Finally, a technology-driven revolution is leading its way into the domain of food. From low energy systems to high-tech waste management systems – designers are seamlessly utilizing best-in-breed technologies to streamline and improve operations and create value-added customer experience that diners would love to enjoy again and again!