This is an award winning competition entry we designed for the Beyond COVID competition held by NEWH. The design focused on creating an inviting space with materials that resist the spread of viruses and bacteria. This restaurant design was featured in the NEWH special edition magazine called Beyond that came out in July 2020. Below is the narrative describing the design in more detail:
People dine out at restaurants to have a pleasant and hospitable experience. The need for restaurant designs to be beautiful and functional will not change in a post Covid environment. However, the design implemented needs to be flexible, so it is easily adaptable to evolving conditions as society begins to expand levels of permissible gatherings during and after the pandemic. Social distancing measures for seating arrangements can be accomplished a couple of different ways. One way to achieve separation is through physical but decorative screens, and another way is using flexible loose tables and chairs which can be stored and added back to the space as occupancy percentages fluctuate. The plans demonstrate a 20% occupancy layout along with a 100% full occupancy layout. The layout features flow graphics showing how diners interact within the space. To minimize any unnecessary physical interaction the design includes two separate entrances: one for take-out and one for dining in.
The built-in booth seating in the center of the space has a few unique features that help ensure diner’s safety. The circular wood and glass screen coming from the back of the booths allows the booths to be placed next to each other but maintain an established barrier between parties. Another feature at each booth is the downdraft vent system built into the table. This technology is already in use at fondue restaurants and residential cooktops to help ventilate the cooking. By utilizing this technology here we can provide a point source negative pressure system at the table minimizing the spread of airborne viruses. The tabletop and bar top is made of hammered copper which has an alloy content that makes it naturally antimicrobial. The booth backs and cushions also feature an antimicrobial vinyl upholstery that is both durable and easy to clean. The utilization of specialized UV lighting within the space kills viruses within the air. Through a layered approach of material selection, mechanical systems, and adaptive seating the new restaurant design presents a beautiful but safe space.