Gone to the Dark Side AKA Designing Restaurants for Dinner

I'm a restaurant designer. It's what I do. But my job involves so much more creative planning besides making it work visually. There's a lot of other strategy and planning done prior to make sure all floor plan adjacencies are cohesive for proper flow. I have to follow health code per city. There's usually some landlord requirements to follow. Then, there's marketing.. the restaurant - first off - needs to be in the right market, that's your first step in the door (no pun intended?) to marketing your restaurant properly; then you need to make sure it's marketing itself while it's standing as a living breathing engine. Everything you put into a restaurant is marketing - the quality of the materials you use tell your guests what kind of brand you are. Did they have their shit together while specifying the chair I'm sitting on, enough to know that this fabric won't rip or the wood won't split and rip my clothing? Why are there stains on the tables? Wasn't the developer of this restaurant smart enough to buy tables durable for a restaurant setting? Maybe they're just not smart overall, therefore my food may not have been properly cooked either... 

That's my perspective on how food establishments function - you either do it right, or well, you did it wrong.

Now, more background on why this bit is titled 'the dark side'. Currently, I'm designing Tender Greens restaurants. They are fine-casual, heavy on lunch but busy with dinner as well. I'm being asked to design as if it were a dinner restaurant with lunch sprinkled in, opposite of what it currently markets itself as, just by the menu itself. Therefore, I've piled up some images that will kick start my dark side, and get me going on designing a dinner based restaurant that could work for the day time too! 

 Darker wall finishes with layered light and art help create a moody vibe.

Darker wall finishes with layered light and art help create a moody vibe.

 Naturally rich materials add a bit of timeless elegance appealing to the crowd that likes to sit and dine.

Naturally rich materials add a bit of timeless elegance appealing to the crowd that likes to sit and dine.

 Mirrors add a hint of maturity and help your lighting play around with the space more.

Mirrors add a hint of maturity and help your lighting play around with the space more.

 Private spaces with a blend of personal lighting and dark finishes help this space feel more intimate at night, while the white ceiling and white surrounding materials help brighten the space up for the day time.

Private spaces with a blend of personal lighting and dark finishes help this space feel more intimate at night, while the white ceiling and white surrounding materials help brighten the space up for the day time.

 Dark ceilings! Even though most finishes are lighter, the dark ceilings lets you imagine this being a transformative space

Dark ceilings! Even though most finishes are lighter, the dark ceilings lets you imagine this being a transformative space

BeanBar Cafè // Qingdao, China

 Refined upholstery! It's all in the details, custom variations of how your banquettes are upholstered tell you that some thought went into it and the space you're sitting in is unique. 

Refined upholstery! It's all in the details, custom variations of how your banquettes are upholstered tell you that some thought went into it and the space you're sitting in is unique. 

 Materials on materials. Layering all of your materials to portray the global palette in little pockets of your space makes you feel the details were well thought out. 

Materials on materials. Layering all of your materials to portray the global palette in little pockets of your space makes you feel the details were well thought out.