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417 Post-pandemic dining concept

Date: October 2020
Designed by: Sanjana Paramhans & Neha Sadruddin
Credit: @sprmhns

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

1. What is the kind of restaurant our design serves to and why?
The design serves an indoor fine dining restaurant. Due to the pandemic, fine dining restaurants have suffered significant losses as they struggle to serve the same level of hospitality and comfort while also ensuring safety of their customers. Since fine dining spaces are a typology where users spend a significant amount of time outside their homes, we wanted to understand the apprehensions of the customers when dining out and address these concerns so as to better equip restaurants to regain their customers’ trust.
2. What dimensions of conventional dining experience are we retaining and what are we changing?
The design strives to retain the social aspect of dining in a public space and maintain the restaurant’s ambience, 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 the social distancing guidelines and varying restrictions to capacity imposed on indoor dining spaces since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 for it near the entrance.

3. What is the concept behind our design intervention?
Given that the past year has seen an emergence and re-emergence of the COVID-19 virus 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 regulations calls for indoor dining spaces to be flexible in their accommodation of customers, so as to easily adapt to the varying degrees of restrictions, as well as transparent in their operations to ensure trust from their customers.

4. What makes our design inventive/frugal? The expandable multi-layered screens are designed to not only function as a partition and physical demarcation of the required distance between dining groups, but also, serve as a design feature within restaurants. The translucent layers of panels provide a sufficient level of privacy and can be flexed along a ceiling mounted track to accommodate the varying distance requirements up to a maximum of six feet.

5. What makes our intervention easy to maintain/disinfect that instills confidence in the staff and people who visit/use the place?
The multi-layered screens consist of colored acrylic panels suspended by metal cables on a track. These materials are easy to maintain and clean. Circulation within the restaurant is also controlled by these screens so as to encourage people to use the way-finding aisles to navigate through the space. Additionally, in an attempt to address the need for transparency, the kitchen’s services are made more visible from the dining room.
6. What makes our design scalable to other dining setups? Larger/Smaller The challenge of making a space adaptive calls for modularity within the design. The multi-layered screens between tables. We also imagine these panels to be customizable so as to be compatible with the restaurants’ original design and character.