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How Architectural Restaurant Design Ideas Impact Taste

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © kichigin19 | Fotolia

Does Environment Impact the Taste of Food?

Designers often ask “how does an environment impact the sense of taste”? Well, a tangible example of this can be observed within restaurant designs. After all, a restaurant atmosphere can set up expectations of how a meal will taste, and it can impact how those tastes are perceived, enjoyed and remembered.

It is interesting to think that innovative restaurant design ideas can make dining experiences extraordinary. A restaurant experience can add or detract from how food tastes. After all, environments impact their inhabitants physiologically – where for instance, a relaxing environment can help a person to relax and de-stress in order to taste their food more mindfully. In other words, restaurant design can play a role in how the taste of food is perceived – and upon how deeply it is enjoyed.

Can a Restaurant Design Idea Increase Appetite?

To design a restaurant, one needs to design the entire dining experience. This turns the dining experience into a journey – thus, entering the restaurant orients a person’s mood. For instance, a restaurant design can relax, excite, or even entertain its patron. Many nuances within the restaurant design impact whether a meal is to be celebrated, appreciated and enjoyed. And failing to design a good restaurant can have a detrimental impact on the way a meal is perceived.

Just imagine dining where one can smell the aromas of great food to come versus dining where a nearby factory smell is in the air. This can indeed affect one’s appetite.

Can Restaurant Design be Innovative?

You see, as a meal progresses from appetizer, to entree, to dessert – there is great opportunity for the environmental designer to “play” with sensory effects. Perhaps a restaurant’s patron can better enjoy their meal because the lighting makes it look very appetizing, and the patron feels healthy while eating because the seating is comfortable. Conversely, if the surrounding environment’s temperature is too hot (or too cold) the patron may not appreciate their meal as much – since this will make a person too hot to enjoy a hot soup or too cold to enjoy an ice cream dessert.

Thus, to innovate your restaurant design idea, it may be best to understand the type of food being served, the journey that person should take within your restaurant, and the way you want them to feel once they are finished eating and leave the restaurant. This means going beyond what is comfortable, to truly innovate the dining experience. How can you improve upon a signature entree within a restaurant by setting amazing environmental conditions? How can your design go beyond helping a meal to “look good” to actually helping it “feel good” as it is being mindfully eaten? What role should your restaurant design idea play not only with the enjoyment of a dish, but with all else that goes on surrounding the context of a dining experience?

The Food and the Environment Are Extensions of Each Other

Of course, the food of a restaurant should strive for the highest quality possible. And as a designer, this is a chance for you to coordinate with the chef. After all, your restaurant design may be setting the chef’s creation “center stage”, and your design becomes an extension of the food just as the food is an extension of the environment which you create. Use your restaurant design ideas to “feed” the senses, both literally and metaphorically. And use your imagination to tap into new ways for a dining experience to evolve – promoting greater health and happiness through taste.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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