An interior design’s success is dependent on how it is lit. Identical finishes lit in two ways will appear totally different. r.o.i. Design has been asked to create initial lighting plans more frequently in the last two years than ever before. There is a growing understanding that the selection of finishes works hand in hand with the lighting.
Our design criteria for lighting is emerging as we increase our understanding of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and the opportunities to customize decorative fixtures and interior architecture using LED.
Our success in lighting design has been based on some
Different types of spaces need different lighting effects and light levels
For people to feel comfortable in an office space, lighting should reflect nature in that 1/3 of the light is direct, 1/3 of the light is indirect and 1/3 of the light is reflective. Taking natural light (or the lack of) into account is critical.
In a retail space, it is important to direct the eye by creating a greater variety of light levels from walkways to displays and to checkouts. Retail lighting is more theatrical and uses hot-spots to direct customer attention to merchandise and wayfinding.
In a restaurant and hospitality setting, customer transaction areas need to be well lit but customers are comfortable with a more dim environment. It is common for wall art, displays, and perimeters to have brighter accents.
For a professional medical space, waiting and nonmedical spaces need to have different levels of light and different options of light levels for patients to choose what makes them comfortable, while the surgical and medical spaces tend to be more consistently “bright”.
Using decorative and custom light fixtures to enhance brand
or design scheme is well accepted
Decorative fixtures add to the décor, but also add interest and in many cases “ease” the user.
Lights need to be experienced at a variety of levels and locations within a space. Occupants aren’t comfortable with a light source that is close to their reach if it’s just a square box of emitting light. We like the light closest to us to be friendlier and have character.
LED lighting is very flexible, and almost anything can become a light fixture; an object that holds a light, expands the light or just carries the light. This could be a reception desk, a cove, a pane of glass, the reveal of a wall, a planter, or a decorative object.
Exploring the opportunities in color temperature and light levels
Behavior is impacted by light, and in the case of LED lighting the color temperature and intensity of light has specific effects on people.
Giving users options to use all or none of the lighting in an office space has been proving to create employee satisfaction.
For r.o.i. Design, furniture is integral to the design. Quite often we have the opportunity to work with our customers in selecting and designing the furniture and furnishings in their space. This is important to us because it elevates the design to a very personal level, where people are touching, sitting, and experiencing the design in visceral ways.
When we have spent the effort to help a professional service client create a welcoming, branded feel in their interior, sometimes it requires a non-typical office furniture solution.
When we have worked diligently to create a restaurant, lobby, or corporate space that wants to look like a hip restaurant, the furniture may not be able to be compiled from standard options. Thus, we have provided specialty services around furnishings for our customers.
Often, we have been engaged to work with one of many of our local office furniture providers to advocate for our customer, consulting on furniture styles and finishes.
We design custom furniture and work with our customers to find the best resource to create those pieces.
Recently we have been working with fabricators experienced with integrating technology into furniture, creating medical and professional desks.
We have created many custom conference table designs, exploring finishes and details to create an ideal meeting and conference environments.
There is also the need for furnishings that look residential but need to be contract-grade. Providing contract quality guarantees for wear and maintenance.
We have also designed procurement programs for developers, working directly with manufacturers to be able to design, select, purchase, and deliver common area furnishings for multi-family facilities.
Furniture has a functional and aesthetic responsibility in
commercial interiors and planning for appropriate furnishings take intention
Bonchon Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken & Wings, is an established restaurant franchise in many metropolitan cities around the U.S. Now West Michigan has one right here in Grand Rapids!
Pinnacle Construction, in their retail development of Knapp’s North on the East Beltline, attracted Michigan franchise owner, Randell Ganchua. Randell was looking to open his first of many Bonchon restaurants on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids.
Pinnacle Construction engaged r.o.i. Design to help design the exterior façade of the retail development as well as coordinate the interiors for Bonchon. Using established standards, r.o.i. Design created furniture plans, lighting design, finish selections, construction documents, coordination with kitchen designers and advocacy for the owner.
Bonchon had their soft opening in mid-November, and the reviews are great. We look forward to their continued success and expansion.
Breweries and their eateries often want their space to feel like their guests are joining them in the warehouse while they are brewing beer. But Gravel Bottom Brewery Ada, MI had to move to a brand-new storefront to allow for the downtown Ada development project to put in a street.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
First Companies’ Craig Schroeder called r.o.i. Design looking for design help to make the new space feel more like a brewery warehouse.
Owner Matt Michiels really liked his existing space and was hoping to re-create the look and feel. To r.o.i. Design that meant a warm paint scheme, industrial warehouse lights, reclaimed wood and vintage looking brick. We asked them to hang used wood pallets from the ceiling to add texture and hide some acoustic treatment.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
Matt added an amazing concrete bar top to his new bar, as well as some incredible beer.
Congratulations to Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and First Companies for making a place that looks like it has been in Ada for decades!
From 13 “On Your Side”, May 11, 2018 edition.
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery in Ada is reopening after moving to a new location.
The brewery moved into a larger space as a part of the Ada Village redevelopment project. But, the company says that the new location still offers a familiar, cozy feel that it has become known for as the neighborhood brewery.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this feel similar to what the other Gravel Bottom was: welcoming and comfortable,” said owner Matt Michiels…
GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.
r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.
Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.
The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.
“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”
Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.
“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.
The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.
r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.
The documentary, “The Chef’s Table” (A Netflix Production), features six chefs and their restaurants. Each of them considered to be one of the best 50 in the world, they were chosen for their exotic tastes, remote locale and menu, passion or untiring curiosity.
As a designer, watching the program, watching the creative chefs, watching the food, I couldn’t help but look at their choices for the interiors of the restaurants. This study recommitted my focus on five elements in restaurant design. There is no other type of space where we design for all the senses.
Like a play, the lighting in a restaurant puts focus on the players. While in fine dining this could mean spots on table tops, with only enough other light for guests to find their way to restrooms and exits. In most restaurants, this means a variety of light levels and light sources: the table pendant, the wall wash, the ambient overall up lighting. Lighting in a restaurant imitates theater.
Depending on menu, casual to fine, the seating takes a cue. We are seeing very few deuces (two top) tables being used in restaurant planning today. Quite the reverse, we are seeing community tables and larger tables being used that enhance the sense of gathering and family. The traditional booths are being replaced by settees and wall benches which gives restaurateurs more flexibility in seating groups of all sizes. Not only do these seating trends reflect current lifestyle preferences, they are great for showing off plates and presentation.
There are at least three categories in restaurant interior finishes:
The interior finishes that disappear – the food is main stage, 1 to 4 star
The interior finishes that have to tell a subtle story, supporting the brand of the restaurant. No star to 1 star.
The interior finishes that have to be more exciting than the food because they are delivering an average menu with good taste.
Mirroring the levels of finish, decoration varies based on the menu.
Minimal, but fine art, commissioned art, wall finishes used as décor for the starred restaurants.
Narrative, biographical and branded interiors for the “no star” but up-and-coming environments.
Entertaining, graphic design as décor, messaging and color is the key to the $10 a plate eatery.
What the diner sees as they are seated and as they eat leaves the greatest impression, mostly subliminally. The determined chef doesn’t want to distract the diner from the scent and look of the food. Fresh flowers and candles are appropriate as long as they don’t have scent. For the lower plate price restaurant, it is an opportunity for advertising. But in all cases, it is an opportunity to help the customer understand what is important at the restaurant.
“The Chef’s Table” showed us the chef’s journey and process. They also gave us clues as to how the interior supports the goal of the menu and experience. Napkins folded and measured for accuracy? An extravagant abundance of non-smelly flowers? A display of objects from the region? A methodical hanging of historical textiles or significant signatures?
Everything is intentional, everything is about the experience.