Shea Links: October

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:

“Restaurant Design Will Be Forever Changed by COVID” – FSR:
This piece is a full breakdown of the restaurant-design changes that have resulted from COVID, which are creating a hybrid approach to full service that puts a lot of emphasis outside of the traditional dining-room experience. Some changes are temporary, while others will last into the future of full-service design. Concepts are, of course, more outdoor-heavy than ever, and indoor spaces tie in as much to the outdoors as possible. Spaces designated for to-go pickup and takeout windows will continue to be more prolific than ever. And inside the dining room, minimal table décor, more disposable items, and creating additional measures for sanitation are practices that are here to stay.

Shea Ink: Fall 2020 – Shea:
The Fall 2020 edition of Shea Ink, featuring Baldamar, Salute Dental, Element, Central N.E., Scarlet at the St. James, and The Grocer’s Table.

“Unfolding Research: An Evidence-Based Approach to Well-Being in Retail” – Design:Retail:
This piece focuses on applying evidence-based design, which has had a surge in popularity during COVID, to retail—constructing an environment based on scientific research to achieve the optimal results. Designers can pore over wellness research—assessing, analyzing, and applying it to their work and what’s needed in the market. When applied correctly, research can result in environments that bring the best outcomes for clients, and this article breaks down the steps to making that happen: from working with the client to define what wellness means to them and how it looks in a successful space, all the way to creating prototype and scale for retail spaces.

“Restaurants Reliant on Outdoor Dining Get Creative in Preparation for Winter Chill Ahead” – Restaurant Hospitality:
A look at how restaurants are preparing as cold weather approaches, when they’re already pulling in a fraction of their usual revenue. Some plan to experiment with covered spaces and heaters, igloos, and firepits to create an enhanced diner experience—a kind of “winter wonderland” with greenery, wind blockers, and hearty dishes that will keep eaters warm while also creating a new kind of restaurant for them.

“Shea Partners with Minneapolis Restaurants to Push City for Public Safety” – Shea:
A roundup of the ongoing news regarding the Downtown Restaurant Group and our work at Shea to help improve downtown conditions.

“Small Footprint, Big Impact” – Restaurant Development + Design:
RDD looks at how restaurants have been gradually getting smaller in recent years, partly as a result of rising rents and partly due to a drift towards off-premises dining (even pre-COVID). This piece digs into the challenges of a small space (functionality, flow, comfort, and more)—there’s no room for error, and back-of-house space is critical. But rent is likely to be lower, and operations are tighter and easier to control. In a post-COVID world, more restaurants will be looking to work out of smaller spaces as they focus further on takeout and altered service offerings. In this article, RDD looks at how a handful of spots and talks to experts around the country about how to make small spaces work with smart seating configurations, on-point lighting, impactful design features and solutions, and more.

“It’s Time for Next: Moving Into Post-COVID” – Shea:
The latest piece in our Now and Next series, focused on the best practices for getting back to business and bringing patrons and employees back safely.

“In a Remote World, We Are Still Designing for Social Creatures” – Work Design:
Work Design examines the future workplace, creating spaces that are safe but still impactful and effective, connecting all staff. “We Space” will be more important than ever, but will look different, and this story offers some ideas and diagrams for what conference rooms, workplace lounges, and hubs can look like. Hybrid models, allowing for employees to work from home or in the office, will be key as offices become destination spots rather than where people default to going on the daily. And all spaces need to continue to reflect company culture and goals.

“Is This the Future of Dining?” – Wall Street Journal:
The WSJ looks at how restaurants have tried to bring the restaurant experience home during the pandemic—and it’s all about a human touch. Austin’s Comedor has been shipping ingredients and setting up Zoom cooking tutorials, an incredibly popular option. Cotogna in San Francisco has created Celebration Boxes for customers’ special occasions. Manhattan’s Polo Bar includes assembly and plating instructions with illustrated dishes and sends uniformed waiters to deliver orders. Intelligentsia has a hotline to help customers make their ideal drinks at home. Other ideas include handwritten thank-you notes with takeout orders, community gardens, custom playlists to match the food, meal kits with QR codes that link to instructional videos, and creative customer engagement in all aspects.

“A New Standard Helps Create Confidence That It’s Safe to Return” – Metropolis:
Metropolis breaks down the new WELL Health-Safety Rating, developed by the International WELL Building Institute, a new evidence-based rating system that provides third-party verification of health and safety features for all new and existing building and facility types. This is an expansion on the WELL Building Standard, and is designed to help organizations operate, maintain, and design facilities specifically in a post-COVID environment—it rewards providing sick leave and health benefits, promoting flu vaccines, supporting handwashing, implementing effective cleaning protocols, and more, and is a measure to help people feel safe in existing buildings of all kinds.

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