abc of architects
video courtesy fedelpeye.tv on vimeo
When an Argentine architect named Andrea Stinga and her friend Federico Gonzales decided to make an A-Z video showcasing twenty six of the world's great architects and the buildings they are most famous for, this is what we got. Totally worth a minute and thirty eight seconds of your day. Takes you right back to university....in a good way.
I looked and looked for a recently opened local restaurant with some super cool design features to share. No luck (other than the ridiculously-covered, over the top M.Y. China and Hakkasan). The local restaurant business has hit a bit of a snag where design is concerned. So I did some digging to see what the trends are in restaurants and there are a few threads. This, in no particular order, is some of what I found.
1. Restaurants are continuing to go casual: smaller plates, lower cost menus, down-scaled decor. Part of the issue is the economy in general and the amount patrons are willing and able to spend. The other part of the issue is the scarcity of investors...banks are still being very stingy. So rather than not opening at all, new restaurants that aren't born into a wealthy family are opening on a shoestring. Even restaurateurs with a strong financial backbone are being pretty conservative when it comes to spending.
Onigilly opened with a plan to complete design when business solidifies
photo courtesy Onigilly
2. In the Bay Area, SF is not always the most attractive town to open a business. For a myriad of reasons, some restaurateurs are looking to the south for more diners.
photo courtesy the Chronicle
3. Cocktails and their masters have ticked up yet again in the food world. Watch out chefs....the mixologists are moving in. And they're not just mixing with liquor....the non-alcoholic drinks are not just for kids anymore. Cocktail centric restaurants continue to grow.
Trick Dog in The Mission
photo courtesy the Chronicle
4. Open kitchens, exhibition kitchens, counters where you can chat with the chef are all taking a starring role yet again. As we get more and more involved in the origins of our food, we seem to want to see it prepared. I wonder if this is less about the star quality of the chef and more about the star quality of the ingredients and our desire for involvement.
MY China has an open kitchen with noodle performances
photo courtesy mychinasf.com
5. Donuts. They're on everyone's dessert menu these days and standalone donut shops and trucks are popping up everywhere. Kinda like the yogurt shops that started appearing a few years ago. Makes me very happy.
Dynamo Donut has this spot in The Mission and a 2nd location in The Marina
photo courtesy foodgps.com
turn on the wall please dear, i'm trying to read....
video courtesy www.dezeen.com
Time to talk about OLED again....organic light emitting diodes. This type of light might just revolutionize the way we light space. Rather than turning on a light fixture we might turn on a wall, or turn on a window. And the light source is the wall. We may be a couple of years away from that, but there are products available and they are way cooler than what the Jetsons had. Check out an OLED mirror that senses your presence and turns on only the OLEDs around your image so that you can see yourself perfectly illuminated. Philips Lumiblade is on the cutting edge of this infant technology. In 1977 could you have imagined a phone in your car? Who knows where this will take us...
my new backsplash vs. yet another subway tile restaurant wall
I hesitate to show you my (subway) tile kitchen since this is complaint number 2 on Tablehopper's The Bore list. But honestly, it's cheap and I installed it myself and at least I added some color. I am a poor designer trying to update a very old kitchen in a very old house...sigh... Every year I look forward to what our friend Ms Gagliardi would like to see disappear from our local dining scene and every year there is something that strikes a rant in me. This year I have a couple of additions. I'd like to add number 1a to her list: if you want to use reclaimed anything, go ahead! I am in complete support of reduce, reuse, recycle. But it's not a menu item. Stop talking about it. You are a restaurant and you sell food. We should all be using less and doing more...doing so does not afford bragging rights....it's boring. Also, 1b: Stop with the 'restaurant as flea market' style. It is possible to create a design that works with items that are reclaimed without turning your space into granny's attic. You don't need to whack us in the head with your 'green thinking'....we get it. I'd also like to add 10a: not only should restrooms NOT be co-ed, but they should be interesting! Bring the fabulous feel of your restaurant into your restroom. Make us comfortable, give us enough light, make sure it feels clean (because we do presume that if the restroom doesn't feel clean, the kitchen probably isn't either). I know you've heard this before from me, but it bears repeating.