For serious restaurateurs, serving delicious food is only half the battle. The other half is offering a dining space, which combines aesthetics and functionality and which elevates the experience of eating to the level of an enchanted ritual.
The Restaurant and Bar Design Awards is, famously, the world’s only event dedicated to hospitality design. It honors the architects and designers who create the world’s most jaw-dropping dining spaces. Now, Restaurant and Bar Design, out from Taschen in May, features 100 highlights put forward to the awards panel from the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. From an igloo-inspired noodle palace at the base of Mount Fuji to a pop-up café brightly painted with the tweets of a famous poet, you may just be too wowed to eat. (Well, maybe not, but those designers have serious chops.)
With majestic Mount Fuji rising in the background, Takeshi Hosaka Architects wanted the structure of Hoto Fudo to mimic rolling mountains and billowing clouds. Serving hoto, a local noodle delicacy, the four domes of this curvaceous, igloo-inspired restaurant are open air during most seasons.
Morag Myerscough painted the cryptic tweets of poet Lemm Sissay onto the façade of this hip pop-up café. “This Is Eye Contact,” “This Is The Gate,” and “This Is The House,” reads the boxy, neon-accented building. Constructed in just 16 days to coincide with the London Olympics, it’s made of shipping containers, plywood, and scaffolding, which were reused by Myerscough’s studio after the café was deconstructed.
Aptly titled “Toy,” this space is designed to be a “nightlife playground inspired by the notion of restaurant as fashion,” Beer writes on his website. With a 1,500-pound kaleidoscopic ceiling installation of mirrored triangles that project trippy images of geishas and Ming Dynasty motifs, you may mistake the experience of eating in New York for the experience of eating inside a Darren Aronofsky movie.
The legs of a massive yellow plastic woman stick out the ceiling of the lower level of Café Germain while the woman’s upper body and head pop out the floor of the upper level. This is Sophie, a sculpture created in 2006 by artist Xavier Veilhan. Iranian-born, Paris-based architect India Mahdavi tapped the artist to contribute Sophie to Germain’s vibrant medley of décor, which features black and white checks, leopard print, pool tables, and big leather sofas.
London-based design studio Outline reinvented the very British institution of the Indian curry house. Double-decker booths line one side of the restaurant; diners climb to the higher-up booths via scaffold tube step ladders. With furniture constructed from FastClamp (galvanised steel tubing). the space has a stylishly industrial, hard-edged feel.
For more gems, dish out $59.99 for Restaurant and Bar Design from Taschen.