Curated by Shea: February

At Shea, we pride ourselves on staying on top of what’s happening in design news so that you don’t have to—and we pull what’s smartest and most forward-thinking together to save you the time of sifting through it all. It helps us keep tabs on what’s fresh, inspiring, and happening in the world—and we make a few headlines of our own, too.

“Good News Comes in Threes” – VMSD:
This VMSD piece examines the retail-design trends that will make the biggest impact around the globe in 2022, all focused on customer connection in physical spaces. Incubators are up first, where brands can occupy a space for a few weeks or months to induct new users. Many incubator spaces have cropped up around the country to help digitally native and direct-to-consumer brands get off the ground. Circular retail is also on the rise, as consumers become more interested in the impact of a circular economy on waste and the environment. Reuse and resale are going mainstream with major retailers (like IKEA and Crocs) who are offering to buy back gently used products, and are also designing stores with a more sustainable mindset. And locality is top of mind as even the biggest retailers (again, IKEA) look to create scaled-down urban spaces that are closer to customers’ lives.

MSP Magazine Praises Khaluna’s Exquisite Food and Getaway Vibes” – Shea:
MSP magazine gives a rave review to Khaluna, from the Shea-designed space with a serious resort feel to the plates inspired by Chef Ann Ahmed’s southeast Asian roots

“Is Casual Dining a Thing of the Past?” – FSR:
FSR suggests that casual dining as we knew it in the past has completely transformed into something new—and that it’s a good thing. Switching to limited-service models—or expanding their portfolios to include them—is helping legacy brands like Friendly’s and Buffalo Wild Wings stay afloat and current in a constantly changing market. Many of these casual-dining restaurants are introducing fast-casual models to help them decrease costs associated with labor, goods, and rent. Limited-service models often mean less necessary labor, as well as a reduction in square footage and restaurants decrease their dining-room footprints and can work with tighter kitchens. They also tend to have smaller, tighter menus, meaning lower food costs and more efficiency in ingredient use.

“Pandemic-Era Hotel Design Has Checked In” – Travel Weekly:
Travel Weekly dives into how Covid-19 has had a lasting effect on hotel operations and aesthetics, in every aspect of their spaces. Things have gone far beyond easy-to-clean materials, HEPA filtration, and touchless tech, as hotel design now embraces authenticity and locality in space, décor, and food offerings more than ever—a smart way to drive local traffic in addition to that from travelers. Technology implementation has been huge in helping create seamless travel experiences and human connections, and investment in outdoor common spaces has become imperative for hotels looking to stay modern and relevant. Flexibility is as important as it’s proven to be in restaurants and the workplace, with common spaces serving multiple functions and access to the outdoors from all community areas. And flexibility has extended to guestrooms, where furniture needs to be movable for work, exercise, and lounging.

“Northeast Mexican Spot Centro to Expand with Two Shea-Designed Locations” – Shea:
A news roundup detailing the future of Centro, set for expansion through the Twin Cities

“Speakeasies Bounce Back” – Restaurant Development + Design:
A hundred years after their inception, speakeasies have come back strong. This Restaurant Development + Design piece looks at how a handful across the country are embracing the trend and making it their own, emphasizing the secrecy and mystery surrounding the concept without moving into “theme” territory. Whether they’re tucked into basements or accessible through alleys, the exclusive nature of these spaces makes them feel like a special experience for guests, and that’s a throughline that can be brought into the branding and décor.

“Interior Design Elements That Enhance Comfort and Productivity in the Workplace” – Arch Daily:
This story dives into not only the benefits of the physical workplace (a collaborative employee environment, the opportunity for companies to build culture and identity), but how they can be best utilized in a modern office with the creation of team-based, comfortable and flexible spaces that foster creativity, collaboration, and productivity. The right design pieces can be used in smart ways to create workplaces that are comfortable and versatile, meaning that workers can do their best business. This piece includes several examples of worldwide offices in different industries and with different vibes that have brought in sustainable and community-oriented elements, from creative spatial dividers that can be easily moved and transformed to natural-light systems and biophilia designed with good vibes in mind.

“Shea Introduces Associate Program with 2021 Class” – Shea:
Shea’s official announcement of our new Associate Program, honoring the first class of inductees

“Attracting Employees Through Workplace Design” – Work Design:
This Work Design piece looks at how “invisible” design elements have taken precedence for employees over the “fun” amenities that companies emphasized in the past, and how using those can be used to attract future employees. These are features that take care to truly connect the company with the candidate, including biophilia, flexibility of choice in workspace, and the use of natural light—all of which can help job candidates feel as if they’re finding a place in a company. A design can be used to really express a company’s personality and brand, create equitable spaces that provide comfort for all, and emphasize values of health and wellness—all factors that today’s workforce is looking for as they enter the job market.

“Shea-Designed Preston Spire Called Out as a Cool Office” – Shea:
The Business Journal article featuring Preston Spire in their Cool Offices column, a Mill District design by Shea