Home' Hospitality Business : HB SPT 2017 Contents T
heatrical connection, food story and
technology are all changing the face of how
hospitality inter iors are now designed, as
customers demand a whole new exper ience.
RM Designs director Ber nie O’Fagan, whose
Christchurch-based company works all over New
Zealand, says there’s been a huge shift in kitchen design.
It’s vital to have in-depth input from exper ienced
chefs and operators well in advance, and designers
can be working for as long as a month with a client
perfecting every detail of the design. Ergonomics and
functionality are vital with operations needing spaces to
work efficiently, whether it’s a quiet Monday or a busy
Restaurant kitchens represent a massive investment
these days, with the average spend at around $200,000, says Ber nie.
“Ideally we run a mini-workshop with the chef, bringing in other
experts from kitchen suppliers like Wildfire or Atkins, usually with
someone else who’s been an exper ienced chef,” he says. It’s vital to get
a clear picture of each client’s brand and to be fully familiar with the
identity they’re trying to create.
There’s a huge trend for open, theatre-style kitchens, with customers
increasingly wanting to enjoy the theatr ics of cooking, says Bernie.
Television food cooking shows have contributed to this in some way, but
it’s not really a new concept, says Ber nie. “You only need to go back to the
days of The Food Kitchen in The Viaduct Auckland with Julie Christie.
She had live cooking beamed via TV’s onto screens in the restaurant and
that was 15 years ago now, and Hudson and Halls even earlier.”
“People totally expect to see more than the food coming through a two-
way swinging door now,” says Ber nie. “They want to taste the action.”
It’s a trend that inter ior architects have had to adapt to. “I can’t
remember the last time we tied a kitchen back behind the front of
house. It would be five years,” he says.
The increasing demand for a ‘signature dish’ is also impacting how
spaces are designed. “This might be a European trend, but we’ve picked
it up and made it our own.” Sports bars may have been famous for their
cheese and ham doorsteps back in the day, but wood-fired pizza ovens and
all of their theatr ics are now taking centre stage. Ber nie sites
The Far r iers Bar and Eatery in Masterton as a perfect example.
“They have two guys in hats prepping pizzas flat out,
flipping them onto the paddle and in and out of a big oven
with customers able to sit a metre or two away and interact.”
RM Design also worked on an old-fashioned rotisser ie-style,
wood-fired pit at Christchurch’s Papanui Club. Here two
full-sides of lamb and 12 chickens can all be roasting at once
in a very public area. Manuka chip adds to the flavour, as
well as the ambience and aroma, allowing patrons to be fully
immersed in the exper ience, says Ber nie.
“This is all affecting our designs. There’s so much focus on
food now – its preparation, its display - the interaction with
the customer. It’s a big change.”
The importance of food and hospitality has also really
changed with new drink driving laws. “That’s completely altered
the psyche of customers and influenced big changes in design,” says
Bernie. Customers would’ve been happy with Shepherd’s Pie at
the neighbourhood pub in the past, but they now expect a much
classier meal and inter ior design. This also means much more detailed
equipment and appliances, which impacts design, says Ber nie.
Project Design Inter national’s design director Phil Llewellyn agrees.
The theatre-style trend, inspired by an increasing desire for customers
to know the ‘story’ of their food, needs to deliver drama, but also places
new demands on design.
“In the past we were looking at mostly silver (stainless steel) and
white kitchens. We’re now introducing a lot more aesthetics – coloured
equipment, decorative tiled walls behind the cooking line,” says Phil.
The theme of the restaurant design now needs to car ry through to the
visible areas of the kitchen. “We conceal the less aesthetic areas of the
kitchen with design detail.”
Phil is also seeing a real emergence of ‘hero’ elements, like charcoal-
fired grills and wood-fired pizza ovens, now used a lot as features
Bench profiles, upstands and equipment can be grouped together to
give a streamline “suited” appearance, and concealed brackets used for
wall shelves to create a less industr ial finish.
Personality & Style
Creating A Clear Picture
Stunning design that encapsulates
the theatre of kitchens
Hospitality BUSINESS | September 2017 | 31
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