Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sensual and Curvy

When I was designing restaurants, resorts and retail, I always tried to use sensual and curvy elements.
Design is really psychological.  Most people who feel good in a public space and want to be sure to
return don't realize that the elements of design that create the ambiance have much to do with that feeling.

Curves, nichos, water elements and lighting, just to name a few, impact you to calm  and add to your sense of well being.

Color can stimulate your appetite as well as you individually.  Back in " the days", I used to lecture on the psychology of color.  More and more vibrant colors have come into most peoples everyday life contrary to what it was thirty years ago.  To get an individual to go from white to beige back then was an epic decision.  To get a man to paint, heaven forbid, old, "in bad shape" paneling was a blasphemy.  Men love wood and the color blue.  At least that's how it used to be. 

Certain colors should always be used in some way in a restaurant to stimulate appetite.  I cringe when I enter some restaurants now to see the predominant colors used in the decor.  Certain colors are NOT even flattering to food.

I was aghast once when I saw what a former client had done after the restaurant I designed for him was finished.  I had not been there in a while and he had changed the light bulbs from soft pink (which enhances the diner and the food) to yellow which effectively turned some food purple - not in a good way!.

Teeny, tiny details such as that can make or break the atmosphere, unfortunately.

Being chastised by architects and contractors was the norm for me back in the 80's as I reconcepted El Chico into Cuellar's Cafe on 610 and San Felipe in Houston.  To say that the exterior was a traffic stopper would not be overstating the case.  It got EVERYONE'S attention and that was the point.  The exterior was turquoise and fuscia with large signage hand painted along with curvy walls and lush tropical foliage.  Pretty much the norm nowadays!

It was photographed continually and used as a backdrop for photo shoots of models.  It was so different that people talked about it.  Again, that was the point.  Those colors wouldn't get a second look in Mexico but in Houston in the 80's -zowee.

To tell you how successful color was in that project along with sensual details such as water fountains and troughs along with many nichos, the remodel was paid for in 120 days and became a very high grossing restaurant whose average ticket had been $5.99 per person to almost a ticket of $15 per person.  In those days that was phenomenal.

Design done right can enhance food, make the guests comfortable enough to want to return and increase the restauranteurs or hoteliers profit significantly.  It is equally effective in residential environments.


15 comments:

DanaJ said...

Lecture on!

vandy said...

Back in the 70's it was time to paint the interior of our house. I gingerly asked Sue if we could paint the walls something other than white. Startled, she shot back, "you want to paint them BLACK?" True story.
Vandy

Babs said...

Thanks Dana.......

Vandy, that gave me a chuckle and I can just see that happening!

Don Cuevas said...

Neat! I can recall a coffeeshop chain in KC, MO, with purple tables and I think, walls. Definitely an appetite killer.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Cheryl said...

As restauranteurs in Houston and Clear Lake in the 80's and 90's I agree with all you have said. Most people don't know why they just feel "good" in a restaurant, or why they choose certain colors for their own homes. It is very subliminal. I personally, love going into a restaurant with warm colors. And my house is filled with the same. That's probably why I love San Miguel and the beautiful, warm golds, terra cottas, and reds. It's just makes me "feel good"!

Babs said...

Cheryl - I must know you as I lived in the Clear Lake area (Nassau Bay) and Friendswood from 74 to 95!What were the restaurants

I agree the colors and curves of San Miguel give a sense of well being and contentment.

Let me know if and when you're heading this way!

calypso said...

"Design done right can enhance food"

Heck yes!

Dan in NC said...

Drat! Here I started reading, expecting an exposé on the Luverly Ladies of San Miguel, and get a treatise on dining and design! Very interesting, and now that I'm a bit better educated, something that bares observation in the future!
Thanks,
Dan in NC

Shannon said...

There are some restaurateurs here in San Miguel that could sure use your expertise. I am amazed at how fast restaurants come and go. For example the one that went in where the Sri Lankan restaurant used to be. It had great food but no ambiance. They tried dancing lessons and all kinds of things but it just didn't go.

If you were so inclined I'll be you could open a consulting business here.

Babs said...

Dan, sorry to disappoint you. Ha.

Shannon, my son says the same thing. I might consult with someone on a Wine Room in a hotel project since I've done quite a few of those.
We'll see. I'm really dragging my feet about not getting back into the thick of things.......

Cheryl said...

We owned Cavanagh's on NASA Rd 1. We sold it to our partner in 1998 and moved to Dallas. it is no longer there, but it was a very successful restaurant while we were there. My husband was affiliated with Houstons's for many years and now he is Managing Partner of Capital Grille in Plano outside of Dallas. We really loved Seabrook where we lived.

Cheryl said...

Oh, and my best friend loves in Friendswood. Her name is Kay Kobeski.

Babs said...

Cheryl - Of course I went to Cavanagh's many times. It was a step up for the CL area. Great design, superb food. Probably met your husband and possibly you in those days. Your friends name rings a bell but couldn't swear I know her.
Is she a designer?
Houston's was, in my day, an outstanding company and the only time I was in Capital Grill on Westheimer, I was impressed. Good luck to you both and DO let me know when you head this way! Would love to meet both of you.

Cheryl said...

We spend a couple of weeks a year in SMA, own a lot and will retire there in about 21/2 years when we will build our house. Can't wait! I miss it every day and want to be there all the time. My next trip is not until January, I will let you know when I am In town and maybe we can meet for a glass of wine.

Babs said...

Well, darn, Cheryl. I'm never here in January.......my email address is babsofsanmiguel@yahoo.com Do stay in touch........