Designing restaurants is an absolute delight for two reasons:

  1. No design element is considered too over the top
  2. Color is welcome

But these things must be incumbent with a theme, which would make it easier for people to identify the kind of food served. The ambiance is also greatly affected by the decor, lighting and the inclusion of soft background music. Although the interior design rules are somewhat lax, they are still there.

Designing cafes is even more of a delight because there are no rules at all. Cafés can look rough, old-school, become a mesh-mash of different styles and still look like places with bucket loads of character.

In Peshawar,Pakistan a combined establishment was designed on a 27000 square foot plot. With oodles of space, the clients felt that a single storey structure would suffice. Though I feel this detracts from the elevation, the customer is always right!

The café was designed first, and given a classier look and feel compared to its counterpart in the Netherlands (The Coffee Salon was a project I worked on earlier). The mirrored panels add depth to the space, and cane furniture paired with the wall art adds a playful touch. The adjoining restaurant was meant to be a vision in bronze and gold. The walls were mostly glass, save for one, which had detailing in the form of curved metal strips, engraved screens and mirrors all bordered with metallic framework.

The ceiling was another interesting element; the rectangular plaster-of-pairs panels had round corners and were given a metallic green sheen. The pendant lights contributed the dream-like atmosphere, though I was told on several occasions that lighting in restaurants is mostly indirect.

However, this was proved a little too much for the client, and the restaurant was redesigned to include wooden paneling and a more eclectic seating arrangement.

Call it a personal preference if you must, but I think dining out should be a magical experience, where all of your senses, especially the savory, experience a treat. And that can be achieved through creating an atmosphere, with a specific influence in mind.

After all it’s the little things that count.