Welcome to Hospitality Design
Six days ago
The design of an environment can completely change the experience of eating and drinking – it influences the way people feel in a given space. To create the right ambiance and deliver a memorable experience, design must be considered from the very beginning.
As hospitality venues face the constant challenge of standing out in an image-obsessed society, the look and feel of a restaurant is now more important than it’s ever been, collaboration between restaurateurs, designers and architects is key.
We spoke to four industry experts that we have been lucky enough to collaborate with about their take on design for the hospitality world and on the projects we have worked on together. We also grilled our very own Creative Director, Emma Gray while we were at it.
Ed Kenny, Director – Giant Design
How do you feel the store design and environmental graphics at recently-launched Kibbutz work together, next to one of the busiest Coles Supermarkets in Australia?
Kibbutz is an Israeli street food concept, recently opened at Westfield Bondi Junction. It’s a great example of branding and built environment working together to tell a cohesive story. This project was always about creating a memorable destination that pops out from its surroundings. The sight, the smell and the sounds of Israel pour from Kibbutz. The store design and graphics bring to life the colours and the origin story of the Kibbutz.
The painted abstract artwork of fresh produce and colours of the land become the backdrop that merges with the textured finishes. The foot traffic is huge and every single person that passes cannot miss it.
Has the role of design in hospitality changed with the rise of Instagram?
The ‘Gramability’ of a hospitality space has become a way of driving foot traffic to destinations, and it has become just as important as the food. We are just as likely to see posts about the space as we are to see photos of the meal that is served.
“What’s the hero?” is often the driver of a concept. The more ownable and recognisable particular aspects of a space are, the more tags it gets. Décor and food go hand in hand – Does the food look good here? Do I look good here? The shift in consumers’ desire to get the perfect photo could even be said to be responsible for restaurants and cafés moving from a dark, intimate mood a few years ago to a lighter, brighter and more photograph-friendly feel today.
Emma Gray, Creative Director – Holy Cow! Creative
What is the first step of your design process when you receive a hospitality brief?
The first step in the design process after we have received a brief is to make sure we actually have a really good brief! Great results only come from a great brief, and the more information given to us in the early stages the better.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with some of our clients over many years – watching their businesses expand, grow and evolve. It’s always a privilege to be approached to work on a new project for existing clients, and our history together always gives us insight and a head start. If the project is coming from a new client, we need to spend time establishing a good relationship and understanding the experience they’ve had that’s led them to open a new venture or updating an existing one. Existing or new, it’s really important to get together with the client for a Discovery Session so we can delve deeper than the written brief.
Upon receiving a brief we will make sure we have an early introduction to the architects, interior designers and other consultants that are also involved in the project. In an ideal world, we are appointed at the very beginning of the project, so we can truly collaborate and identify environmental and branding opportunities together.
If there’s no synergy between the interior and the branding, the experience for the customer is confusing and just falls flat.
The real first step – research.
When we feel satisfied that we have all the information needed to tackle the design brief the fun really begins. Research!
Before we even think about design solutions, we always dedicate some serious time to research and try to leave no stone unturned.
A hospitality project is never the designing of a logo in isolation. It’s the development of a visual language – the colours, patterns, graphics, textures, fonts, materials, and environmental elements that work together to make up the new identity. We approach our research with all of this in mind.
The next step – design territories. But that’s for another day…
Henry Goodwin, Director – GSBN Studio
In relation to Forty Licks, a hospitality project we recently worked on together, how did you approach working collaboratively with designers and other consultants to create a holistic hospitality experience?
Collaboration was definitely integral to the success of Forty Licks, a new Vietnamese restaurant and bar concept in the Sydney CBD. The complexity of the design and nature of the site called for a multitude of consultants in order to achieve the desired outcome.
GSBN Studio embraced the various parties involved that assisted in design and production. This spread from Town Planners and disabled access consultants to the intricate mix of custom cocktails by Kurtis Bosley. The design of the restaurant saw input from artist Richard Goodwin who provided the crowning jewel sculpture that hangs within the entry void and you – Holy Cow! Creative – who provided all of the graphics that form the language of Forty Licks.
Being a design-focused firm, GSBN Studio meticulously reviewed all consultants’ drawings to ensure that the final outcome was consistent. We believe this is the most important aspect of working collaboratively. As the lead designers and project managers for the job, it is crucial to ensure all external parties are working towards a common goal. This is how we managed to create a holistic hospitality experience.
Have you seen a rise in sustainable and ethical design for hospitality venues in recent times?
GSBN Studio strives to employ sustainable design in all areas of our projects. There is an obvious growing need for all areas of design to employ sustainable materials and modes of construction. As organic and ethically sourced food is becoming more appealing to the general public, one could draw that the design and material pallet would follow suit.
GSBN Studio believes that sustainable and ethical design is no longer a discussion, rather a given as part of the design process.
William Talbot, Consultant – Concept Hospitality
How important was the link between the space and the food/beverage offering at Forty Licks in creating a unique experience for diners?
Ensuring the concept is carried through from the food and beverage offer through to design is a contributing factor to the success of any venue. Through the use of intertwining bamboo sticks throughout the venue to symbolise the busy nature of power lines through the streets of Vietnam, Forty Licks was able to bring a new age charm to its underground location in the Sydney CBD. The internal branding and design along with the venue’s rock and roll music further highlights the importance of tying all these components together to help bring the concept to life and creating a unique dining experience for all guests.
What design trends in hospitality are you forecasting for 2020 ?
With the rising costs associated with design and fit outs, small operators will continue to work within the minimalistic nature of their venue while highlighting certain industrial aspects of the original restaurant space.
Larger operators such as Merivale will continue to design unique spaces with high-end design and fit out such as Bert’s at Newport and Coogee Pavilion at Coogee. We think there will be a strong push for large hotel operators to bring new life to their lobby and reception spaces through redesigning and rethinking how they can create multipurpose spaces driven by a solid food and beverage offering.
We should also see a continuation of newly designed rooftop bars and restaurants open up within hotels and smaller operators such as Hyde Park House.
We all agree as changing consumer behaviour, evolving design trends and ubiquitous social media continue to impact on the success of a hospitality venue, it is vitally important to ensure that all the necessary ingredients are perfectly balanced – design, food/beverage offer, ambience, service. It’s also important for operators to avoid design fads, aim for quality and sustainability and remain true to their core values to deliver a memorable customer experience every time.
A big thanks to Ed Kenny, Giant Design, Emma Gray, Holy Cow! Creative, Henry Goodwin, GSBN Studio and William Talbot, Concept Hospitality for your fantastic contribution to this article. We loved working with you on these amazing projects.
Here’s to many more!
Thanks also to our fabulous clients who entrusted us to bring their vision to life – Kibbutz, Nahm Jimm, Forty Licks and The Mill House, Melbourne.