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Weï¿½re constantly in awe of the incredible ideas coming out of the world of retail and hospitality interior design. Over the last few years we've seen an influx of creative new minds enter the field who are redefining the concept and making their own rules. The latest inspiring example of innovative interior commercial design is the new Maedaya Grill & Sake bar in Melbourne, created by local design firm, Architects Eat. The sushi restaurant's interior, mostly 'bound' by ropes, demonstrates the possibility of using ordinary recyclable material for hospitality projects without compromising sophistication.
The rope idea originated from the classic design of sake bottles, which are traditionally secured with ropes. The principal materials for this project are Manila ropes, timber and concrete, all reflecting natural elements such as vegetation and earth.
EAT took a different path with the first-floor function room, which is in stark contrast with the ground-floor 'rope' room. Here they have created a modern, minimalist space with white-washed walls, Japanese black-stained timber flooring, simple timber benches and raw stainless steel canopies. By Lisa Evans.
You know how good you feel when you have just tidied your workspace, and how much more organized and productive you seem to be. Do great surroundings affect other areas of life as well? For example, if school meals were served in well-designed and good-looking spaces - could this encourage healthy eating and improve the well-being of students?
That was the theory behind a pilot project of The School Food Trust, a government body in the UK chaired by Michelin-starred chef, writer and entrepreneur, Prue Leith. The Trust aims to improve the quality of school food and to promote the health of children and young people.
The Trust has been working with students to gain an understanding of the importance of the lunchtime environment. The goal is to create new school dining environments across the UK.
A pilot project - The Applemore College Canteen (or ACC as it has been rebranded) - was recently completed at Applemore Technology College in Southampton, where on a tight budget of £55K, the once-dull and lifeless dining hall was transformed into a buzzing eatery and hang-out space, extremely popular among the students.
Designed by renowned architects SHH, the 4,000-square-foot interior now has a relaxed cafeteria feel with areas zoned for eating and for casual hanging-out. The ACC’s innovative features include hanging graphic panels which help absorb noise, and an industrial feel and striped motif inspired by Manchester's popular Hacienda club.
“This pilot project proves that well-designed and suitably equipped kitchens and dining areas are solid investments for the future and contribute significantly to the whole school approach to healthy lifestyles and to the overall success of the school,”says Barbara Roberts, Delivery Manager at The Trust.
Clearly, you don’t have to be a trendy bar, a boutique hotel or the pop-up store of the moment, to create positive buzz. This project shows that with some well thought-out ideas and innovative planning, even the dullest of spaces can be transformed. And at reasonable cost. - Brendan McKnight
Today’s demanding consumers expect even their beloved, favourite brands to step up their game. Many run-away online successes of offline brand “stunts” attest that consumers expect, and get really excited about, experiences that are unusual, fun, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. With the power and immediacy of social media, surprising offline events and stunts have now turned into truly powerful promotional tools.
In 2010, TCH will launch Access Agency. It is a dedicated entity that will continue our work of creating highly original, transformational, yet eminently practical and results-oriented strategies for companies to stage the kinds of offline brand experiences that will increase the economic value of their offering.
Access specializes in helping brands and businesses see the world differently. We add substantial value by creating customized experiences that change the consumers’ thinking in some way. The surprise element changes the thinking patterns, and the change makes the experience memorable. People want to talk about it, tell everybody about it. And that, in turn, translates into added brand awareness and ultimately sales.
Access is hard at work creating ideas and concepts for some high profile brands. For McDonald’s, we envision a cool, surprising and fun mix of concepts. First is McFancy, an upmarket temporary McDonald’s store that launches at Fashion Weeks around the globe — London, New York, Paris, Milan, Sydney, Hong Kong. McFancy is part art installation, gathering spot and, of course, a restaurant that offers a traditional McDonald’s menu but packaged in a way that makes a playful yet stylish nod to the lifestyle of the highly desirable, influential consumers that attend Fashion Weeks.
Waiters in tuxedos, silver service, private dining areas, and packaging co-created with the fashion brands that present at Fashion Week — Burberry burgers, Chanel fries on black packaging, Paul Smith Sundaes…A bit of fun among the serious business of fashion. A bite of comfort food among all the elaborate cocktail fare, Private dining rooms, a raised catwalk that winds around the perimeter of the space, and with a central bar area providing a dramatic focal point. The ceiling is constructed from stretched fabric, ribbed to provide articulation and define zones. The form of the ceiling is accentuated through the use of LED lighting.
We believe that McDonald’s can have major presence at events like NY Fashion Week, movie premiers and other high-profile events by creating a space to fit that environment.
This is just one of many concepts that Access Agency will be launching in 2010. Brands wanting to create something innovative and extraordinary should contact [email protected]
See also McMobile McDonald's (below)
French architect Odile Decq (born 1955) and her late partner, architect and doctor Benoit Cornette (1953-1998) have never feared bold, big, challenging projects.
This year, Decq who continues to lead Odile DECQ Benoit CORNETTE:Architectes Urbanistes in Paris, completed a task that has apparently eluded designers and architects since 1875.
She designed the spectacular L'Opéra Restaurant, located in one of the most famous buildings in opera, the 1,600-seat L'Opéra Garnier, on Place de l'Opéra in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris.
The 6 million Euro (about $8.2 million US), three-year-long project was completed this summer. The most significant features of the restaurant are the magnificent glass curtain walls that protect the original stone; the curved structures that define the new space and also create the seating areas and even some of the seating; and the simple use of white and red. The result is both minimal and grandiose, contemporary and historic. From some angles, the curvy structures create a cave-like view, perhaps a reference to the Phantom’s subterranean world.
The building, originally designed by architect Charles Garnier in Baroque Revival style, was inaugurated in 1875. Over the years, it has been known as Opéra de Paris, L'Opéra Garnier, Paris Opéra and L'Opéra Populaire. Its architecture set a new style for opera buildings, and for the next several decades opera houses around the world were built to resemble it.
The building’s fame has also been boosted because it is the setting of Gaston Leroux’s gothic novel, Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, 1911) and the popular musical ,by Andrew Lloyd Webber (1986). - Tuija Seipell
Pics by Roland Halbe
Whatever you can think up, Cookieboy can bake it! In fact, Cookieboy can bake cookies of things you never thought of as being cookie potential. Such as feathers and bonsai trees and tents and eyeglasses. Or sheep with a necklace and Christmas wreaths. And shoes and socks and chairs and entire table settings. Cookieboy was born in 1984 in Kyoto and graduated from textile design course at Kyoto.
He’s found his canvas in cookies and is now appearing with brands such as Issey Miyake and LaForet Harajuku shopping complex and museum in Tokyo. In addition to the fantastic one-of pieces, Cookieboy bakes party packages that include a set for Anniversary, Tiara, Wedding and Basic party. We are off to ordering TCH cookies! - Tuija Seipell
Didn’t think you’d ever end up window shopping for beef tenderloin? Get ready for a rethink, especially if you are on Queen Street in Woollahra, Sydney.
In the well-established suburb, tree-lined streets offer a perfect enclave for cafes and boutiques, and for that most unlikely of things, a supremely cool butcher shop. Victor Churchill is the first, and so far the only, butcher shop established by Vic and Anthony Puharich, the father and son duo behind Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, the leading meat supplier to some of the finest restaurants in Australia, China and Singapore.
A butcher shop -- Churchill’s Butchery -has operated in the space since 1876, so it was an appropriate location for what the Puharichs envisioned as a European-inspired designer shop of meaty delights.
To realize their vision, they engaged Sydney-based Dreamtime Australia Design whose many restaurant, bar and resort projects around the world combine traditional and modern elements in a deliciously layered and multi-textured way. This was Dreamtime’s first retail project but too juicy to pass, says Dreamtime director, Michael McCann
The store boasts so many unique, custom-designed and exclusive features that the only way to absorb it all is a real-life visit. The features provoke, intrigue and amuse the customer – starting with the façade with its double-glazed, refrigerated vitrine for viewing the ever-changing array of hanging meat and poultry, plus selections displayed on custom-made copper and glass shelving.
Inside, butchers work at timber butcher’s blocks on a “stage” behind floor-to-ceiling glass while specialty cuts of meat and carcasses, hung from a custom-designed cog gear and metal chain rack, slowly pass by. The backdrop for all this is a Himalayan rock salt brick wall that infuses the hanging meat with flavor and sterilizes the air. In a humorous nod to a recent Louis Vuitton window display, multiple video cameras are trained onto the daily special inside a glass dome on a pedestal.
Victor Churchill is definitely on the leading edge of redefining the meat shop category. (See also their iPhone application) We are seeing this happening slowly in other food, restaurant and grocery categories as our McDonald's -McFancy.. We are all for a future without a single sprig of plastic parsley!- Tuija Seipell.
In the friendly tradition of ice-cream trucks and pop-corn carts, the highly visible McMobile brightens up the day at large sporting events, concerts, street festivals and any other events where large crowds are present — and hungry!
And for people waiting in long line-ups to get into such events or to buy tickets, the McMobile would be not only a welcome and entertaining distraction, but a chance to get something to eat that they would probably eat anyway when they get into the event.
Depending on the location and specific requirements, the McMobile could take the shape of just the one main car or it could become an entire fun train with various components of a meal depicted in each car.
To make most of the fun of this fun meal-on-wheels, the concept would be further enhanced by specific music, mascots, staff and entertainers interacting with the crowds — all part of the experience of encountering the McMobile.
With its bright colours and cute appearance, McMobile will be photographed and broadcast in social networks by consumers where-ever it shows up. McDonald’s could even run a “Spot McMobile” contest online to increase the visibility.
McMobile is a concept created by Access Agency which will be sold as a franchise model and also used as a branded marketing experience.
See also McFancy
Whenever wood is used beautifully, we pay attention. Kengo Kuma-designed 15-room hotel, and especially the attached fruit market in the town of Yusuhara, in the Takaoka District of Kochi, Japan, is a project worth admiring.
We love the skilful, minimalist use of traditional methods, materials and symbolism in the creation of the market space that appears both ancient and completely modern at the same time – a uniquely Japanese skill, it seems.
The cool, thatched façade pays tribute to the town’s ancient tradition of providing travellers who took the main arterial Yusuhara route rest spaces called “Chad Do” that also functioned as venues for cultural exchange and interaction.
As always with this type of design, our eyes are drawn to everything that is NOT there, which allows us to see what IS there even more clearly. No clutter, no visual noise. Contemporary minimalism at its finest. - Tuija Seipell.
Yoobi Sushi, London's first temakeria, opened last month on Lexington Street in Soho. Its interior design is an exercise in constraint that has produced a statement of clean minimalism at its best.
Temaki is fresh sushi wrapped in a cone. It is a take-out or eat-in variety of sushi that was born in Brazil where the largest Japanese population outside Japan resides.
London-based Gundry & Ducker Architecture Ltd. stripped the former warehouse back to its original brick and painted the walls dark steel-gray.
The designers were challenged to combine the vibes of Rio, Tokyo and London, and to reflect the Yoobi brand's color palette created by Ico Design.
They solved the riddle with a fusion of only a few distinct features. All key surfaces, apart from floors and ceilings, received a light timber covering. The only "colors" are added by the brilliant white sushi bar, by the on-brand color inlays in tables, and by the chairs.
The decorative touch that connects all of the elements is the on-brand angular detail on the floor, sushi bar, tables, and on the blocky benches and plinths. - Tuija Seipell.
High Tea at fancy hotels has long been a favourite of not just the Royals and the ladies who lunch, but even tourists glamming it up and gladly handing out their credit cards for a bit of high-brow fabulousness.
Wine Tastings and High Coffee came next, served and imbibed in various degrees of decadence and glamour.
But the stakes are getting higher and the temptations harder to resist. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong is now serving a L900 Jimmy Choo package but only till early May. It includes afternoon tea for two at the MO Bar where the expected fare is served: cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, the Mandarin's famous ginger scones and clotted cream, and macaroons in a multitude of flavours, but it is all meticulously handcrafted in exquisite shoe and handbag shapes. Jimmy Choo, of course. And after the tea, you can check into the Mandarin 9200 square-foot L900 Suite for a night and select a pair from Jimmy Choo's new 24:7 capsule collection. Price tag for the splurge? Approximately $1,500 US. - Tuija Seipell