Shea Links: June

At Shea, we pride ourselves on staying on top of what’s happening in design news. 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. Here are some recent articles delving into design, experience, and what’s buzzing in our community:

“Dining in the Street? As Restaurants Reopen, Seating Moves Outdoors” – New York Times:
As restaurants begin to reopen across the country, many are testing the waters with expanded outdoor seating as cities have relaxed the restrictions on what qualifies as “patio dining”—parking spaces, yards, patches of grass, sidewalks, streets. This flexibility is helping restaurants recoup some of their losses, but poses some health risks as well as creating revenue problems for cities and issues for those who live in neighborhoods with a lot of restaurants (as on-street parking spaces, streets, public plazas, and more are transformed into dining spaces).

“Shea Ranks as One of the Twin Cities’ Largest Architectural Firms” – Shea:
The Business Journal’s list of top architectural firms in the Cities, where Shea ranks at #21.

“State of the Industry 2020—Coming Soon: The New Reality” – VMSD:
This piece looks at the long-term effects of COVID on retail business—not only as a result of sales plummeting, but how stores will look and operate. The “new retail” will include new ways to engage in the space, from distanced lines and curbside pickup to choreographing shopping routes. One new form of shopping is the “metroburb,” which retail experts are dubbing a self-contained metropolis in a suburban setting. The projects are similar to skyways and malls, with a retail mix contained under one roof with seating and plenty of space to spread out—and serve as a way to draw office tenants to buildings.

“Food Halls Revisited” – Foodservice Equipment and Supplies:
FES looks at how food halls will evolve in a post-COVID world—they provide a low barrier to entry, which may be appealing to new concepts without a lot of start-up capital, but communal dining will inevitably decline (at least for a  while). The trick will be to accentuate the positive: The spaces are ideal for new concepts looking to test a miniature bricks-and-mortar version of their idea with reduced overhead costs, and there’s a camaraderie between vendors that eases some of the burdens of the restaurant industry. This piece also includes predictions for where the industry is going, like the inclusion of more microbreweries and distilleries within their walls to complement the limited menus of different concepts.

“After Flocking Downtown to Woo Millennials, Offices Might Be Moving Back to the Suburbs” – CNBC:
In a post-COVID world, CNBC hypothesizes that companies may look to move from city centers to the suburbs, reversing the trend of the last decade in favor of more space. A few real-estate moguls weigh in, suggesting that companies may start opening satellite offices to accommodate suburban and part-time work-from-home employees, and are looking for breadth of space over height as people are nervous about elevators and confined stairwells. The suburbs also offer advantages like parking, outdoor space, and ground-floor offices, all factors as companies also look into shorter-term leases.

“Rooftop Dining” – Restaurant Development + Design:
As more and more restaurants look to maximize any possible outdoor space, already-popular rooftop dining is bound to become an even bigger draw. This piece looks at the trials of creating a rooftop space, including wind, weight limitations, transport for diners to and from the rooftop, and creating shading for sun and rain—and offers practical solutions.

“COVID-19 For Restaurants: What’s Working and What Will Become Part of the New Normal” – FSR:
A comprehensive breakdown of the impact of COVID-19 in both the short and long-term—what’s working for restaurants now as a response, and what those tactics imply for the “new normal.” These methods include aggressive marketing, new no-touch protocols, simplified operations, new technology, better employee treatment, new revenue streams, new ways to interact with suppliers and distributors, and tighter financial management—all of which have implications on the hospitality industry as a whole going forward post-crisis.

“Shea Speaks With the Business Journal About Office Reopenings” – Shea:
A Business Journal piece about pivots that offices can make to welcome employees and ease post-COVID fears, featuring Shea expertise.

“How Architecture Can Defend Us From Germs, Bacteria, and Viruses Like COVID-19” – Work Design:
While architecture has been more focused on “healthy buildings” over the last few years, the fight to end the spread of COVID-19 has pushed this notion into overdrive. This piece starts with looking at how to design to control germs and bacteria—avoiding overly complicated design for high-touch surfaces and installing non-porous surfaces for easy cleaning. It also discusses naturally microbial materials and hotspots for paying special attention when spec’ing easy-clean materials. The article also discusses smart water features to avoid water contamination, as well as filters and ventilation for optimal buildings systems, and touches briefly on the importance of balance for offices in other areas of wellness.

“Shea Shares Restaurant Reopen Tips With CNN” – Shea:
A CNN Business interview featuring Shea Principal Tanya Spaulding, detailing how restaurants can prepare for reopening, from lightening and brightening to retraining staff and maximizing outdoor seating.

“What Will Make Restaurants Feel Safe in the COVID-19 Era?” – Food & Wine:
From guest entrance to exit, this Food & Wine article looks at what diners will be searching for in order to feel safe in restaurants again. From masked employees (who will need training to express warmth without their smiles) to temperature checks (for guests and employees) and reservations, it’s going to be a new ballgame. Some restaurants may employ cloches and underliners, and sanitation will be constant and careful. This piece also looks at kitchen reorganization, contactless ways to handle menus/ordering/paying, distancing in dining rooms, outdoor seating, restroom cleanliness, and how businesses can communicate all of these efforts to diners as they slowly become more ready to come back.

“Design For Wellness Beyond Today” – Interiors and Sources:
This piece looks at workplace wellness spaces moving forward, and how they’ll be more important than ever to maintain physical and mental wellness for employees. Accessible outdoor and green space is key, and spaces with natural light and materials that echo their community and environment help encourage wellness. Moving forward, people will have more sensitivity to ensuring individual and collective wellbeing, so spaces will be reconfigured to include moveable partitions and spacing in seating and workstations. Workspaces will include more zones of isolation and separation, and technology in all offices will be bolstered for remote work and meetings.