Food trends can change at the drop of a hat, and restaurant design is no different. We’ve taken a look at what you can expect from restaurant interior design in 2018, from immersive, multi-sensory experiences to an all-day-café aesthetic.

Experience Dining

People go out for a dining experience, and restaurants are trying harder and harder to provide an experience that diners haven’t had before, and are unlikely to ever again. The proliferation of pop-up bars themed around popular films and TV shows (think Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and Star Wars, all of which have opened in the last six months) is permeating through to more permanent venues, first and foremost in design but also encompassing virtual reality and multi-sensory elements. Mad Rex in Philadelphia takes the aesthetic of the Mad Max film series and presents it as a post-apocalyptic scene – a restaurant for the end of the world.

Home Comforts

Conversely, Jeffery Beers, founder and CEO of Jeffrey Beers International, believes that 2018 will see the end of industrial design. “For our recent renovation of Dune by Jean-Georges in the Bahamas, for example, the seating is accessorized with pillows of complementing patterns and tones, giving an overall feel of luxury, yet hominess,” he said.

All Day Café

Partially a revenue generation move and partially an aesthetic choice, the all-day café fit-out is becoming increasingly popular. Offering breakfast services offer diners the chance to experience the restaurant at a lower price, but the fit-out must be able to accommodate for both sittings without compromising on aesthetics. Ray Chung, design director of The Johnson Studio, gave the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne as an example. “It has a buffet room with built-in equipment for hot and cold plates. The room’s hidden doors allow for daylight to come in. In the evenings, the doors close and are backlit to add swanky, dim lighting.” Similarly, the Ritz Carlton in Orlando has a breakfast bar in the morning which is switched over to a raw bar for the evening.

Bespoke Lighting

In the age of Instagram and social media saturation, what is the most important aspect of restaurant fit-outs? “Lighting that makes us all look good,” according to Krause-Sawyer, a New York-based luxury hospitality design studio. They’re not alone in this viewpoint – lighting design specialist Anita Summers said that technology will signal the biggest change in lighting trends. “Through remote controls and apps, restaurants will be able to control singular bulbs in any part of the space from switching on or off, dimming, and changing colour,” she explained. Furthermore, custom light art will give restaurants a unique, one-of-a-kind fixture which will attract punters.