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Form and function: building beautiful cafés post-lockdown

General Info June 16th 2020
Form and function: building beautiful cafés post-lockdown

As lockdown gradually begins to end, proprietors of cafés and coffee shops may be gearing up to re-open their establishments. Nonetheless, the pandemic is likely to influence public life for months to come, and nowhere is this more apparent than spaces designed for social mingling, like cafés and restaurants. Employees and customers alike will need to feel safe in a café environment, and this will likely mean significantly restructuring interior space. However, this does not need to be a painful process. Take the opportunity to breathe beautiful new life into an interior, and create an attractive space with safety requirements built into its very fabric.

Screen it - Mobile sneeze screens are a great choice for cafes, bars and resturants.They provide a safe barrier against the risk of transmission and can be easily repostitioned to suit different interior layouts which in turn provides a sense of 'safe' as we start to embrace the new normal...
Single seats, not benches or booths - Single cafe chairs are a more efficient way of using space when customers need to sit at least two metres apart; because they are not fixed to the floor, the interior they occupy becomes infinitely more flexible. Bar stools in metal or vintage colours are very on-trend and elegant; you could even mix and match different kinds of chairs for an eclectic feeling. The use of smaller individual cafe tables, with table mounted cough screens rather than large Waggamma style bench tables, also allows customers greater control over their personal space.
Bring some of the outdoors indoors - Many establishments will be thinking about taking more advantage of outdoor space, and customers are increasingly likely to want to sit outside. Blurring the lines between outdoor and indoor areas, for example widening doorways, will allow customers and employees to more easily move between the two spaces at a safe distance. Take advantage of natural light using mirrors and light-coloured walls; plants also add a refreshing touch to indoor rooms. You could even hang baskets of greenery from the ceiling if floor space needs to be maximised.
Make takeaway counters fun and functional - Many cafés, coffee shops and restaurants have kept their businesses going during lockdown by adding takeaway services; this functionality can and should be kept after a full re-opening. Making your takeout point fun and eye-catching will draw in passers-by; the use of a tabletop and trestles allows you to customise the size and shape of your takeaway station. To manage queues, go a step further than stickers on the floor; direct foot traffic using techniques such as colour blocking and permanent, attractive designs on flooring (such as tiling ‘paths’) which remind customers to keep an appropriate distance from each other.

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