When you go out to a restaurant, you are usually looking for more than just a meal that you don’t have to cook (or clean up after!). Many of us have our favourite restaurants and cuisines, but have you ever really considered the cultures which inspire them?
Culture, whether it’s obvious or not, can play a major part in the creation of a restaurant. The very concept of an eatery is often born from a specific cuisine or food synonymous with different places and ways of life – be it an Italian bistro or a high end French restaurant. These themes and influences run throughout the menu and can be seen through the ingredients used and the way dishes are put together.
But what about the interior design of the restaurant and how it looks? And perhaps more importantly, is there a way of showcasing culture – local or otherwise – in a which is both classy and elegant?
The benefits of showcasing culture through restaurant design
Before we get into the different ways of showcasing your local culture in the design of your restaurant, it’s important to recognise the value of this from a diner experience.
Modern diners want to be immersed in a restaurant’s theme from the minute they walk in the door. Combining the menu and food and drink on offer with the setting, the layout, and the décor used throughout the space, restaurant designers can create novel experiences which tell a story. And what better story to tell than one which connects the restaurant with its surrounding community?
It’s worth noting here that while we are particularly interested in local culture for the purpose of this article, with tips on how restaurant owners can bring the local surroundings into their restaurant through design, many chain eateries out there focus on engineering the foreign experience that diners expect. For example, some of the most popular Mexican chain restaurants pack their restaurant spaces with classic Mexican imagery and décor; similarly, many Italian eateries use typical colour schemes and stereotypes to create the experience that diners expect. All of these go-to design influences are born from the cultures which surround these cuisines, creating an experience which immerses diners in their meal out and provides a novel yet recognisable experience.
5 ways of injecting local culture into the design of a restaurant
With all that said, how can you take inspiration from those themed restaurants but instil local culture and landscape into the design of your restaurant?
1. Artwork from local artists / celebrating the local area
From coastal views to hillscapes, paintings of a city skyline, or photography which highlights the blend of old and new, finding artwork which celebrates and herald the local area is one of the best ways to honour it. There are two ways that you can do this, either with images which expressly depict different aspects of the community, or by showcasing art and photography from those creatives who are local and who work in the area.
Either way, this is an elegant way of adding culture to a restaurant – while also supporting local artists.
2. Use colours reflective of the landscape and scenery
One way of ensuring that your restaurant design captures and celebrates the local culture is to step outside and pick out colours from the landscape around. From green hills to pebbly beaches, blue skies, and slate grey buildings, find inspiration in the blend of natural and industry around your local area, and inject those colours into your design.
3. Historical images and stories
There is no better way to celebrate local culture than by blending the old and the new – with some of the best restaurants telling diners stories about the history of the area and the impact that has had on the restaurant’s design.
Restauranteurs can consider naming some dishes on the menu to honour historical events or prominent historical locals and add little snippets of history to the menu as well as the décor of your restaurant.
4. Host cultural events
Does your local area host an annual bonfire party, or a community Christmas fair? Get involved by offering to host cultural events, making them a part of your calendar and something which connects you to the local community.
5. Consider plating and add touches of local culture to the presentation of food
Finally, are there changes you can make to your dishes which underpin and bring the food itself back to local culture and to the local community? From naming dishes on the menu to altering the presentation so it celebrates a significant event or location in the area, the more you can do to subtly but distinctly highlight local culture, the more memorable your restaurant will become.
For more advice like this and to find new ways of blending local culture with timeless and modern restaurant design, reach out to Carroll Design today.