design strategy
Responding to imposed limits, we imagine a near future where social interaction has evolved to adapt to a new normal of expanded personal boundaries and physical distance.
We surveyed people to understand their preferences and fears so we could rethink the restaurant ecosystem and design solutions that best address their pain points. The design serves an indoor fine dining restaurant. Due to the pandemic, fine dining businesses have suffered significant losses as they struggle to serve the same level of hospitality and comfort while also ensuring the safety of their customers. Since these spaces are a typology where users spend a significant amount of time outside their homes, we wanted to understand the apprehensions of dining out and address these concerns so as to better equip restaurants to regain their customers’ trust.

Since New York City saw one of the worst peaks of the pandemic, we chose to address the challenges faced by restaurants there. Looking at solutions adopted by restaurants since their reopening, there has been a range of quick, on-the-feet thinking in the hospitality sector. At first, the focus was on outdoor seating and ways to maximize capacity, while also maintaining a certain quality of design. Now, we are starting to see how restaurants are thinking about their indoor spaces as regulations ease up.
Designing Social Connection
For Post Pandemic Public Space.
Given that the past year has seen an emergence and re-emergence of COVID-19 globally, we imagine the near future to continue seeing multiple resurgences of the virus such that social interaction will evolve to adapt to a new normal of expanded personal boundaries and physical distance. In addition, the periodic tightening and easing of COVID-19 regulations calls for indoor dining spaces to be flexible in their accommodation and transparent in their operations.
Adaptable design to keep up with the constant changes in regulations.
the challenges
Efficient circulation
and wayfinding design.
Higher focus on functionality and flexibility to enhance profitability, at the expense of design.
Fluctuating, temporary solutions.
A design solution to limit the spreading COVID-19 indoors.
Gaining the trust of the customer through preparedness and transparency of operations.
We designed a module of expandable, multi-layered, translucent screens to function as a partition and physical demarcation of the required distance between dining groups, as well as, to serve as a design feature within the restaurant. The translucency of acrylic panels provides a sufficient level of privacy and they can be flexed, along a ceiling-mounted track, to accommodate the varying distance requirements, up to a maximum of six feet (the most stringent requirement in NYC). Indoor circulation is also informed by the positioning of these modules as they encourage people to use the way-finding aisles to navigate through the space. We imagine these panels to be customizable so as to be compatible with the restaurants’ original design and character.
Our goal is to retain the social aspect of dining in a public space and maintain the restaurant’s ambience and quality of hospitality, while providing more flexibility and transparency in their typical operations.
To achieve this, the seating arrangement and circulation have been reconfigured so as to adhere to social distancing guidelines and varying restrictions to capacity that are imposed.

Additionally, to address the increase in pick-up and delivery from restaurants, the design attempts to streamline this service by designating a portion of the space to this operation near the entrance.
workplace strategy
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