Tools of the Trade

Many designers forget that their clients can be flummoxed by technical aspects of restaurant design. Thankfully, there are a few tools out there that can help us provide our clients a better understanding of what a space may look like. While most designers are comfortable working and reading 2D space plans many of our clients have trouble visualizing their future spaces using conventional design tools. Bargreen Ellingson Design employs several tools to give our clients the ability to understand what their final project will look like with just the click of a button. However this doesn’t just help clients visualize their designs, it also helps us convey the mood and nuances of a design that can be lost in translation.

Here are just a few tools our designer are using:
Google SketchUp:  

This is a free download from Google, but you can also purchase a license to use some of the features that may not be available on the free version.  This is a simple and intuitive program to which allows a person to create 3D drawings quickly. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in doing 3D, to first start with Sketchup.

Autodesk SketchBook:  

Deriving from the makers of Autodesk, Sketchbook is a really great tool to use when rendering a drawing or if you want to sketch an idea out.  The great thing about Sketchbook is you can put it on your tablet and sketch ideas in front of your client.  I really enjoy using this program for rendering purposes because I can add the actual material I have specified.

Autodesk 3Ds Max Design:  

Another great 3D modeling program that many architects and designers are using today. Unlike Google SketchUp, 3Ds Max gives you a realistic feel what a space is going to look like.  You can also create an animated walk-through of the space, which can provide the client a real feel for the entire space instead of just a section or limited area.

Adding Warmth to a Space

I recently completed a restaurant remodel that transformed a tired, outdated interior into a warm and contemporary atmosphere.

The customer had done extensive traveling and brought many exciting design concepts to the table, and allowed us to incorporate many of the ideas we collaborated on together into the new restaurant interior.

The main color scheme includes such colors as cream, gray, and espresso and further includes touches and finishes such as glass, acrylic and gold panels. The interior is very rich in its overall color palette, but it’s the additional design elements that add that extra ‘warmth’ to the space which makes the restaurant cozy and inviting.

To provide that extra warmth, we designed in such elements as, a rectangular contemporary fireplace in a wall near the lounge and entry. Custom clouds were designed over the lounge seating area and dining settee areas. The custom clouds have led lighting strips where different colors can be changed and adjusted remotely, that also add a ‘Warm’ element of light and color. Custom light pendants add additional illumination and warmth, as does the led lighting in the built-in waterfalls.  Tall drapes flown in from Asia finish off the windows and add warmth to the room.

All of these design elements come together and create that special restaurant ambiance that ultimately allow the customer to feel at home.

Padded or Hard Seats?

When presenting different seating options to a customer, I’m often asked if wood seating will be comfortable.  If I were to give my honest opinion, I would say in capital letters (which could come off as me yelling, which isn’t possible since I was born with an indoor voice only), that answer no. If they were to re-phrase that question as “Is a padded seat going to be more comfortable than a wood seat?” the answer is “yes”. You don’t have to be a prodigy with a degree in seat “comfort-ability” to know that if you’re sitting your glutes on a padded seat for an hour, you’re going to order at least two more Cosmopolitans to complement your potato fingerlings. There are times, however, when using a wood seat is more appropriate for your establishment. Are you looking to have a quick turnaround at lunch time? Is the solo business person who needs one hand on a club sandwich and the other flicking pages on their iPad your ideal customer? Then a wood seat is for you. If you don’t want patrons to get too comfortable and spends hours in your bistro because you’re waiting for the next thirty customers to come through, leave the overstuffed furniture to the country clubs.

I’m not going to lie: when given the option of sitting on a padded bench or a wood chair, I will undoubtedly choose the padded bench. I usually get my way considering my husband would prefer the better view of the football game; in that case, he can spoil himself with the comfort of the wood seat.