What Does the Future of Restaurant & Bar Design Look Like?

23 October 2020

The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards is a globally recognised competition dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces. Entries from over 100 countries around the world cover every imaginable space; from ships to airports, from burger vans to Michelin-starred establishments.

Neoz were honoured to have partnered with the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards to present this years Virtual Awards Ceremony Overall Winners Category and we once again congratulate the deserving winners from each category.

Now in it’s twelfth year, this prestigious award has an international judging panel comprising the most influential personalities and experts in the world of design, architecture, hospitality and lifestyle media. During the award ceremony, renowned international operators and designers shared their personal opinions on the future of restaurant and bar design.

There were four big trends that caught our eye that we think have important practical applications for the immediate future of restaurant and bar design.

Trend 1: The future is less gimmicky with a greater focus on relaxed environment

After months of lock down and cooking at home, there’s no doubt that people are longing for normality and dining out at restaurants with great food, a relaxed style of service and an atmosphere reminiscent of a European summer evening.

Knut Wylde, General Manager at The Berkeley, UK, says, “For me I think restaurants and bars have to certainly become less gimmicky, less showy, less fleshy. We have to concentrate on real authentic experiences with a focus on guest service and relaxed environments. Very much like our garden pop-up restaurant here at the Berkeley.”

The Garden at the Berkeley in London, an intimate and informal Mediterranean-style alfresco pop-up restaurant.

Trend 2: History meets modernity

Restaurant and bars within the confines of historic landmarks add a unique layer of character to a culinary experience. There’s a palpable sense of authenticity when you mix a wonderful modern meal with a side of history.

By retaining heritage features and developing their potential to maximise room and light, operators are now making spaces from yesterday fit for today.

In Sherborne UK, the Clockspire was originally built by Sir William Medlycott in 1854 as a school. Now, the building has been brought back to its former glory creating a warm and welcoming restaurant and bar, one imbued with memories and stories from the local community.

The spectacular exterior is more than matched by a dramatic and airy modern interior with bare stone walls, exposed oak roof beams and a polished concrete floor. The thoughtfully designed spaced has a distinct balance between old and new, where the rich historical architectural features truly shine.

The impressive Clockspire Restaurant in Sherborne UK won the Overall UK Restaurant Award.

Trend 3: Design that focuses on intimacy and human connectivity

In these extraordinary times, we’re taken back to primeval days where the emphasis is on safe environments, human connection, quality ingredients and a warm ambience.

The power of lighting in bringing people together now is indifferent to our relationship with light many centuries ago where we would sit around a camp fire together enjoying the warmth. Warm coloured temperatures in light are critical to our comfort and wellbeing, as well as in creating an ambient environment we live in such as the home, restaurants and bars.

Martin Brudnizki, Founder of the Martin Brudnizki Design Studio says, “The global pandemic has shown the importance of social interaction, how seeing friends and colleagues in person makes us human. What that means in terms of design? Space will be important over the next few years. Creating a design that balances a feeling of intimacy and human connectivity with comfort, a sense of hidden space.”

Norma, London UK with Neoz cordless lamps.

14 Hills, London UK demonstrating the power of warm ambient lighting.

Trend 4: Warm, positive service and great value

It may seem obvious, but great service and value for money are perhaps more important than ever before.

Ultimately, guests come to a restaurant or bar to experience something simple. Good food, a good ambience and a good conversation. There is space for innovation, however, guests don’t want to see it.

Martin Brudnizki says, “innovation is important, but it shouldn’t be a distraction. It’s the job of the designer, seamless innovation.”

Additionally, Knut Wylde, General Manager at The Berkeley adds, “It has to be genuine and not just for the sake of Instagram and social media. It is very important to constantly evolve and listen to guest feedback.”

Nando’s Peckham in London, UK. 

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