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:

“Developers Are Betting On Live-Work-Play Communities to Attract New Tenants” – Allwork.Space:
Multi-use buildings are more popular than ever, and ones that focus on live-work-play are becoming even more common—allowing workers to virtually eliminate any necessary commute by putting everything they need in one place. Live-work-play communities include a variety of housing types close to local companies where many of the residents work, with nearby areas for dining out and entertainment. They put all the necessities within minutes of one another, decentralizing cities and creating several ensconced suburbs. These communities offer opportunities for community-focused restaurants and shops, targeted to the specific demographics of the area, along with housing, workplace, and branding opportunities. The story discusses the benefits of and arguments for these communities, as well as a handful that have cropped up in the last several years.

“Restaurant Design: What’s Now—and What’s Next” – Eater:
Eater released a huge package this week on restaurant design, and every feature in it is worth reading. One breaks down what the future of restaurants will look like—accessible, accommodating, fun, flexible, takeout-centric, and nature-embracing (by way of light, plants, outdoor dining spaces, and indoor/outdoor blends). Another discusses the worst chairs to put in restaurants (fixed swivels and backless barstools take the cake). And a third makes a case for banning the banquette, due to its lack of accessibility and sense of claustrophobia.

“CoPilot Helps Dogs and Their Owners Live Their Best Lives” – Shea:
MSP magazine features Shea-designed CoPilot Dog Outfitters in Linden Hills as the spot to go to get geared up for winter

“Introducing NextGen Casual: The Future of Full-Service Restaurants” – FSR:
It’s no secret that the limited-service restaurant category has been exploding over the past decade—these restaurants have invested in better décor, higher-quality food, and an elevated level of service, bringing a better dining experience to a convenient way of eating. And now the full-service industry is undergoing a similar revolution, embracing efficient menus, the freshest food, adaptable footprints, tech-savvy elements, hybrid models, and a sense of entrepreneurism. FSR deems these spots NextGen Casual, and takes a look in this piece at how full-service casual eateries can bring quality, convenience, and value while still providing a total dining experience that’s fun and group-oriented. The story examines chains that have had success with individual-feeling, localized outposts, better off-premises dining experiences, and creating sit-down spaces that don’t feel stuffy but still serve the highest levels of food and hospitality.

“Workplace Branding: Integrating Culture and Marketing in the New Normal” – Work Design:
Culture is a key word in workplaces today, and bringing a company’s ethos into its environmental branding is a more relevant idea than ever, as company culture drives brand and vice versa. This Work Design piece looks at the incorporation of core values and business philosophy into a space, and the importance of office layout in communicating those ideas. Bringing in company logos and colors in the finishes and furnishings can be fun and creative, but it needs to be done in a non-distracting, most-effective way to make that recognizable statement without overwhelming clients and employees. Creating workspaces that emphasize a brand can help translate company values into a tangible marketing tool, empowering staffs and optimizing strategy for the organization.

“Shea Spots Rank on Minnesota Monthly’s Best New Restaurants List” – Shea:
Minnesota Monthly’s Best New Restaurants feature, highlighting the Shea-designed experiences at Sidebar at Surdyk’s and The Butcher’s Tale

“One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Employees’ Needs Are Changing Work Spaces” – New York Times:
Looking at how the pandemic has changed office operations, the New York Times addresses the social aspect of the physical workplace, and how companies are considering the usage of space for individual versus collaborative work. Many offices are embracing socialization spaces as a way to draw employees back to the office, creating areas that are in line with organizations and their values rather than one-size-fits-all environments—whether that means adding media walls to better connect workers or creating warm, homelike common areas. Comfort is key for employees now, who are looking to bolster their health and lifestyles with their office spaces, and companies are willing to accommodate this through better design in an attempt to attract and retain talent.

“A New Age of Hotel Dining” – Foodservice Equipment + Supplies:
Hotel restaurants have transformed from sad spots for weary travelers and private-event-specific spaces to destination spots for tourists and locals alike—but they need to really draw people in, since they’re at the disadvantage of often being within another space. Bolstering any street entrances and outdoor elements is one way that hotels can help bring people from the outside into the restaurant, and adding local dishes to the menu brings a specific flair that can’t be found just anywhere. Hotel-kitchen design is another consideration—these spaces need to handle the restaurant cooking, as well as room service and catering private events, so taking space usage into account is key, as chefs at different stations need to be able to communicate easily and operate at optimal levels. This article also looks at how hotel restaurants are tying in technology to make service simpler, while also nodding to neighborhood and historic roots.

“The Future of the Office: Sustainability, Size, and “Spread-Ability” – PBC:
With more and more workers returning to the office, PBC looks at how the post-pandemic world has shone a new light on life in the workplace, with key words being sustainability, size, and “spreadability.” Signs point to developers being smarter about space usage, rather than necessarily packing more buildings into the same volume of space, tending towards smaller office developments that are more spread out through major urban areas. Biophilia is at the heart of sustainability—both in the sense of natural design, and sustainability of lifestyle for workers looking for more spacious environments and natural materials to help fuel their days.

“Khaluna is a Star Tribune Star” – Shea:
The Star Tribune’s early look at Ann Ahmed’s third restaurant, Khaluna—a South Minneapolis stunner designed by Shea