Could these screens be the future of restaurant design?

Published: 9 June 2020 - 10:55 a.m.
By: Jane O'Neill
Sure, restaurants in the UAE and around the worlds are re-opening, but with a host of restrictions in place to keep us safe.

This means it follows that restaurant design will change and that's certainly a concept that 4SPACE design is exploring.

Firas Alsahinn, co-founder of the Dubai-based design and architecture firm, explains.

"We’ve been exploring adaptable and portable designs that enable organically safe spaces for restaurant interiors giving them additional and transformable space to adapt social distancing.

"Let’s face it: we really do not know how this crisis will play out, and therefore the implications to restaurant design remain just as uncertain. As such, the impact on restaurant design will remain a moving target for the foreseeable future.

"To successfully navigate such a future, designers will need to take a transformational approach, one that embraces the spirit of continuous improvement and evolution, as the market evolves into the new normal.

"Pre-Covid, it was recommended that restaurants give each seated diner a 1.4 square metres of space. During the pandemic however, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended this to be increased to 2.5 square metres per diner.

"We’ve seen designs done in a wrong way like big plexiglass boxes blocking people in, this can cause fear and claustrophobia. Dining out should be a great customer experience and diners should organically feel safe amidst the pandemic.

"We should provide a safe flow in the space without people feeling suffocated. Hospitality is about emotions, cultures, and scenes of happiness."

Not just a theory - the firm is making the concept reality as part of a rebrand for Italian restaurant Dolci & Capricci, Abu Dhabi's Souq Al Jami Mall.

Moveable coloured glass portions use materials that withstand constant sanitization like glass, steel and abrasion-resistant surfaces.

Firas adds: "The ability to forget is in human nature and getting back to normality is a matter of time, so concurrently we want to create a lovely space which is safe and that will last for years. The last thing we want is an over conscious costly design that causes fear or anxiety.

"Indeed, the pandemic will, in fact, come to an end one day. As the world evolves to this end, restaurants will also have to evolve and continually improve and remain relevant.

"We believe that it is key to have a 'transformational' philosophy and 'continuous improvement' and evolution approach and mentality, as we begin the journey out of the current pandemic."

"There’s already a lot of stress in the air. Let’s design relaxed and enjoyable spaces yet be safe and sustainable," he concludes.

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