Exclusive: F&B design trends a feast for the senses

It’s a time of transformation for the design of hotel dining venues, with individuality celebrated. Leading design experts share their experiences on what works in this evolving segment.

Angela Biddle, Director, Scott Carver:

Dining in Australian hotels has been stigmatized as a disappointing experience. Often reserved for breakfast buffets and afternoon tea parties, they are rarely a go-to destination, especially compared to the country’s vibrant and diverse bar and restaurant scene. However, transformative venues opening across the country are rapidly redefining hotel dining experiences.

Scott Carver works on several projects, drawing inspiration from successful national sites. Key to the design response is to create a layered experience through a series of unique sub-locations throughout the hotel, encouraging guests to experience each space and increasing their stay time in the hotel.

The Hotel Indigo Auckland’s lobby bar, currently under construction, provides a lively environment for informal meetings or an aperitif, before being drawn into the a la carte restaurant, followed by after-dinner cocktails at the Level 1 bar, where patrons will join knowledgeable locals who have found the hidden entrance.

Likewise, we design a luxury hotel where a business lunch turns into a wine tasting, then rooftop for aperitifs, and ends with a nightcap at the member’s only “after hours” location.

Ensuring that the interior design takes into account operational factors is equally essential to the success of the place. Labor shortages and rising wages continue to affect hotels, especially their dining venues. With strategic space planning, venues can have the right staff and deliver an exemplary customer experience that rivals the best in town.

Hotel Indigo Auckland offers a lively and interesting dining space

Mathew Dalby, Creative Director and Co-Founder, Studio Fab:

I believe that current trends in bar, restaurant and cafe design are more around a single offering, with aesthetics as an answer to the USP of the establishment.

The iPhone and its global customization have opened up a world of choice and individualization like never before. People are more in tune with finding their own “design tribe”. We crave people, products and environments that “understand us”, which is reflected in the social contexts we want to frequent.

Add to that our return to the world after two years of global lockdown, and you have a perfect storm that celebrates individuality and our desire to share our time with people and places that offer the best in their field of expertise.

We see specialty Negroni and mezcal bars, Greek loukoumades and Japanese creperies, as well as a host of highly specialized restaurants that cater to a specific taste and experience.

On the interior side, the materiality, form and overall function contribute to the originality of the establishment.

The credits are out. May our spaces and places celebrate what makes us unique!

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