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:

“The Four Pillars of Today’s Workplace Design” – Work Design:
This Work Design piece takes a look at the work design strategists have been doing to look towards the future of the office, with a four-pillar framework being the primary way to construct a successful workplace model. These four pillars must be balanced in the physical space to best support employee happiness and productivity, and include Clients (finding ways to continue the client relationship through both physical and virtual means), Company and Culture (rebuilding trust in a hybrid work environment, by way of accommodations that provide for inclusion, wellness, and materials), Teams (creating spaces that allow for collaborative, productive, and inspiring work), and Individuals (using design to establish work/life balance with multiple space types).

“The Restaurant Industry’s Recovery Swings Into Full Gear” – FSR:
In an article packed with helpful data and graphs, FSR takes a look at the recovering restaurant industry. With just over 10% of restaurants closing permanently between March 2020 and April 2021, the bleak outlook has turned around as the country begins to reopen post-COVID, with three consecutive months of restaurant sales stronger than in 2019. Off-premises sales growth is still historically high, and dine-in traffic is up. Dining in has spiked nationally and in major cities, and openings for new restaurants and food businesses are on the rise as well. With levels of people eating out up past pre-pandemic levels, it’s clear that diners are ready to get out there again, and restaurants need to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Longtime Shea Client Yum! Set for St. Paul Expansion” – Shea:
The Star Tribune reports on the Yum! Kitchen and Bakery expansion to a third location at Snelling and Selby in St. Paul

“Behind the Bar” – Restaurant Development + Design:
This piece takes a deep dive into the details of a well-designed and equipped bar, from layout and logistics to menu and equipment to service and storage. A bar needs to be as efficient as possible for workers to turn the most profit, taking into account space, reach, and location for key tablewares and ingredients. The more menu information that can be gleaned from a client, the better to design a bar that makes sense for their business model and creating space for the equipment that they’ll need. And for speed of service, designers need to take into account POS and liquor storage options to minimize stocking trips throughout a service.

“Food Halls, Ghost Kitchens, and the Future of In-Store Restaurants” – Restaurant Dive:
This story from Restaurant Dive focuses on how grocers are leaning into their in-store restaurants to reach an expanded market sector as diners have spent more time shopping in groceries than eating out. Looking to better compete with restaurants and flush with 2020 revenue, these stores need to stay current and compelling, constantly offering something fresh and new to draw diners. From food-hall concepts to ghost kitchens to the installation of chain restaurants, grocers are creating next-generation food spaces that give shoppers a one-stop spot to eat and enjoy while getting errands done.

“Hotels Will Never Be the Same” – Vox:
Vox digs into how hotels will change for good in the wave of the pandemic, as travelers begin to return in droves and are taking advantage of “bleaisure” (business/leisure) travel, and it’s impacting design. Major brands need kiosks and spaces for contactless check-in, but lobbies still need to be warm and welcoming. Smart-designed guest rooms controllable by device and more creative dining options are on the horizon. And automat-style areas are taking over the breakfast buffet, in addition to all the new technology that this piece explores. Amenities and usage are changing as well, with fewer gyms and more options to have amenities brought right into rooms. Businesses are partnering with hotels to give employees options for living in “aparthotels,” a reassessing of the traditional hotel business model sure to impact hospitality design.

“Craft Distilleries Aim to Make Whiskey an Experience” – New York Times:
The craft-distillery business grew in 2020, climbing to 2,265 in the country and an expected increase in sales—meaning more competition and more creativity to bring a broader experience to visitors. Some distilleries have moved beyond just liquor production and tasting rooms to bring a totally immersive travel option for guests, including recreation, food, lodging, and entertainment. Events venues open up options for distilleries to host, and for distilleries in more remote locations with land options, trails for hiking and biking are on brand. This story delves into where the money to invest has come from (particularly government help and tax breaks in the last year) and how a handful nationwide have been using the extra funds to their advantage by creating stellar outdoor spaces and preparing to bolster their operations and tasting areas.

“The Grocer’s Table Scores Praise for Seamless Daypart Switches” – Shea:
A Food Service News highlighting The Grocer’s Table and its seamless approach to switching between dayparts, emphasizing the importance of all-day restaurants with clever business models

“Bring Your Whole Self to Work: Designing for Holistic Employee Wellness” – Work Design:
Workplace wellness has become an official must for companies looking to recruit and retain top talent, and this NeoCon discussion delves into how design can emphasize it. With key stats and numbers included regarding worker mental health and hopes for what the post-pandemic workplace will be like, the story discusses how to implement activity-based working into the visioning and design phases with the client, as well as creating tactile and connective design features to encourage office attendance. Work Design also breaks down the seven dimensions of holistic wellness, and how each can be brought into the design process, along with sustainability and other post-pandemic changes.

“Changing the Game for Office and Retail” – Architect:
This story looks at a report from the Brookings Institution dissecting where the real-estate market goes from here, as multistory office buildings and brick-and-mortar retail spaces struggle to refill themselves. The report suggests that five major trends are coming together to change what’s happening in real estate: segregation by race and income, the country’s demographic transformation, weakened regional housing markets, the future of work, and interruptions in the retail ecosystem—the final two having been most impacted by the recent pandemic, creating a need for architects and designers to help shift the landscape. Developers are looking to put their dollars towards the future, and that means designing for the exciting retail experiences people are looking for—taking what works in digital and online shopping and bringing it to the customer. Design thinking is also headed overall in a more diverse direction in terms of equity and progressiveness.