Shea Links: November

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:

“Why Department Stores are Becoming… Restaurants” – Wall Street Journal:
With traditional retail flagging, department stores and other large retailers are differentiating themselves in a new way—with dining options. Heralding back to the 1800s, in the early days of department stores, the department-store restaurant has been a fixture in retail development, a place not only to rest while shopping but to see and be seen. Even better, it keeps customers in the store longer. The WSJ looks at recent restaurant openings in major retailers, including the new Nordstrom flagship in New York, Tiffany, and more, and how they work not only in tandem with the retail component but also separately.

“The Generation Vocation Mutation: How Younger Workers Are Shaping the Office of the Future” – REJournals:
A look at how the focus on millennials and how they interact with their workspaces may actually hinder offices as Gen Z moves into the workforce—the conversation needs to shift to those sensibilities to attract and retain the next generation of top talent. This may lead to the pendulum swinging back to larger personal workspaces and smaller collaboratives ones, as Gen Z-ers tend to lean towards privacy and stability. Amenity floors are still key for office buildings, but individual companies are likely to focus on more business-oriented spaces, and adapting to a more diverse workforce will be important.

“Independent Hotels Are Disappearing as Chains Grow” – New York Times:
As big hotel chains begin to focus in further on creating individualized and city-centric experiences with “soft brands” (such as Marriott’s Autograph Collection), independent hotels are either falling by the wayside or selling to major companies. The clear demarcation between a well-designed and smartly-run chain and a boutique experience is dissipating, as soft brands build the kind of unique and historic experiences that travelers crave. And with competition from Airbnb as well, it makes sense for many independent hotels to become acquired and still retain their own personalities, with access to the resources and reach of the larger chains.

“The Chefs Reinventing the Midwestern Supper Club” – New York Times:
A midcentury staple, supper clubs had fallen out of fashion—until a recent resurgence in major cities. The past few years have seen a re-rise of the Midwestern supper club, both traditional in the Midwest and new takes across the country. The New York Times explores their ingrained place in dining culture, why people find comfort in the kitsch, and how they’re being modernized for today’s diners.

“Telling the Story: How to Bring Brand into a Space” – Shea:
A strong brand is the cornerstone of any business, and translating and extending that brand into the physical space is a strategic balance. It’s not about putting logos everywhere, but instead needs to inspire the space’s vision, tone, and vibe, as well as setting the scene for the emotions and energy felt there. In our latest How We Create article, Shea discusses how we brought the brand into the spaces at the Moxy Hotel in Downtown Minneapolis, CoPilot Dog Outfitters, So Good So You, and the Colle McVoy office in a creative, smart, and inspirational way.

“Shea Partners with Gavin Kaysen and Andrew Zimmern to Reimagine Timberwolves’ Dining Spaces” – Shea:
KZ Provisions, the catering-company brainchild from Chefs Gavin Kaysen and Andrew Zimmern, is the new official provider of team meals for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Shea is partnering with KZ to renovate and reimagine the team’s dining spaces to be in keeping with the new quality of food, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal dives in to get the scoop.

“What’s on the Menu?” – VMSD:
The importance of marrying restaurant design and menu is a long-understood idea at Shea. VMSD looks at three worldwide examples that are leading the concept-dining movement, emphasizing time together and social interaction, and how their environments and menus work together to create a cohesive experience that truly immerses diners.

“The Need for Adaptability in Workplace Design” – Capital One:
The results from Capital One’s annual Work Environment Survey are in, and this is a summary of the most prominent findings. Results show that workplace design, especially elements like natural light and adaptable spaces, forms a basis for success in the office, as well as amenities and features that encourage flexibility and well-being. The summary also highlights the design features that matter most to employees, helping them do their jobs at top capacity and helping companies attract and retain the best talent.

“Functional by Design: Service Bars Ease Bottlenecks, Boost Volume” – Foodservice Equipment & Supplies:
With the substantial profit margin on drinks, it’s critical for restaurants to have smooth, efficient bar operations. This Foodservice Equipment & Supplies piece dives into the notion of the service bar, a strategic operations tactic that helps restaurants serve more drinks, more quickly. These bars can be design focal points or hidden in the back of house, but their function is to reduce backup and bottlenecks in beverage service. Often designed just to be purposeful, these bars need clear separation from the rest of the restaurant, and can be particularly useful in spots where the kitchen and main bar aren’t connected.

“Designing Restaurants for Delivery and Takeout” – Restaurant Development + Design:
As more and more restaurants move towards delivery-and-takeout-only models, or include it as a major or primary business component, special considerations need to be taken in their designs. Restaurant Development + Design looks at these factors and how some restaurants have implemented solutions, including clear separation of dining areas, separate ghost kitchens, tweaks to kitchen design to make it more efficient, and more.

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