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INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR - Inspirational spaces give birth to good ideas


Designing cafes and restaurants - Why all establishments must have an Instagram corner, and the entrance to the toilet becomes extremely important

(Photo: Unsplash/Lance Reis)
When you think of your favorite cafe or restaurant, what comes to mind first - gastronomic specialties, friendly waiters or the interior of the establishment? If you chose the third, you belong to a growing group of guests who pay more and more attention to the decoration of the premises.

The increase in the number of buildings with designed interiors in Belgrade, but also in other cities, shows that the importance of interiors is increasingly understood by the owners of the premises in Serbia. That`s why in this text we bring them advice from architects on what they should pay attention to when thinking about the interior, what affects the price, what is the first step, and what they can deal with later.

As we learned, it is a misconception that a good interior has to be expensive. But he should be brave so that he is not just a copy of someone who has already been seen. We also find out why the lobby of the toilet has become important, why lately all facilities must have an "Instagram corner" but also why not everything that can be seen on Pinterest and other social networks can be applied.

The aesthetics don`t help either if the food is cold

Our interlocutors agree that interior design is a very important aspect of cafes and restaurants today. In addition to the location and the offer, the most important, as Tijana Vitomir, an architect at the Fluid studio, told the eKapija portal. Owners of restaurants and cafes also understand this, as evidenced by the increase in the number of buildings with well-designed interiors in Serbia.

- Through the interior, the catering establishment communicates with the audience, it attracts or repels at first glance, and later, depending on the experience gained through staying in the catering establishment, the same audience makes a decision on whether they want to return and repeat the experience gained - Vitomir explains.

Architect from Parch studio Vladimir Paripovic reminds that the first impression is the most important in all segments of life, including in the design of restaurants and bars. However, even the aesthetics do not help if the food is cold, notes the eKapija interlocutor.

- We are living in the year 2023, where the visual moment is very important, and in most cases it sells the product. Owners of catering facilities have long understood that the concept of the space is important, that is, aesthetics. Then food, comfort, and service. Service is especially important - feeling welcome and wanted. Also, the atmosphere must be comfortable to allow you to relax and enjoy the occasion. If people can`t drink or the food is cold, then all the aesthetics of the space don`t help, the business doesn`t succeed - Paripovic is clear.

And how much money is needed to achieve that aesthetic? It is a misconception that a good interior must be expensive, our interlocutors note. As Vitomir explains, it is not always easy to hit the target audience, but with a well-designed interior in terms of functionality, first of all, the client can achieve many more goals for much less investment. However, it is difficult to say what the minimum amount is for decorating the interior of cafes and restaurants.

- There is no exact determination of what is the minimum and what is the maximum amount. There are many factors that can decrease or increase that amount. Some of them are: the condition of the space being adapted, then the target audience, the size of the premises, the location and many others - says Tijana Vitomir.

Wine shop "Naše vino" in Belgrade, architect Vladimir Paripovic (Photo: Vladimir Paripovic)Wine shop "Naše vino" in Belgrade, architect Vladimir Paripovic

Paripovic adds that the budget is also affected by the direction in interior design: whether the space has an industrial concept or a modern design or a classic one, because each of these levels has different details, finishes or materials - from undemanding to very demanding. Also, the equipment in the bar and kitchen, dishwashers, ice machines, coffee machines, wine refrigerators, as well as materials are important.

- It is a misconception that a good interior is also expensive. That is the expectation, that the architect/interior designer has the ability, knowledge, experience and sense of space, and will make an excellent concept for a certain budget, and in the execution, the finished interior will look like at least 2-3 times more money has been invested. It`s all up to the architect, who will come up with an average interior and spend a lot of money or make a brutal design combining materials and knowing the market and adapting the design and aesthetics to the space itself - explains the architect.

The challenge is finding a good location and not recycling old ideas

As well as prices, it is ungrateful to talk about trends, our interlocutors agree.

- Especially in the design of spaces and catering facilities, where the market has expanded and everyone has the opportunity to highlight what they like, and the audience is diverse, so that, in the entire eclecticism of styles that additionally overlap and interpenetrate, there is something for everyone. Eternal rules mainly refer to some substantive categories in terms of function and equipment - says Tijana Vitomir.

Each space is a story of its own, Paripovic notes, and the type of catering facility dictates the direction of the design itself. According to him, the context in which the space is located is also very important, whether it is in the center of the city, on the outskirts, outside the city, whether it is a free-standing building or within a complex, what is in its surroundings, what is the accessibility.

- We can rather say that new materials are being produced, that the application of some new material in some way affects the trend, that in this sense the area is being improved. Consumers are the most important and the main rule will always be that the guest is satisfied and happy - how will we attract them, how will we provide them with a fantastic experience and what will make them come back - explains the architect.

Pizzeria Fianona in Zagreb, architect Vladimir Paripovic (Photo: Vladimir Paripović)Pizzeria Fianona in Zagreb, architect Vladimir Paripovic

As he says, the main challenge is to find good locations with the right rents. This has an extremely large impact on the project budget.

- As a consequence, they can also affect the prices of food and drinks, which has a further impact on the demographic characteristics of the restaurant. Also, when we talk about the interior design of a certain space, it is very important to go one step further, to make a step forward in the aesthetic and functional sense, to be different, to have a smart approach, not to recycle old ideas, elements... We can also say, to be brave in certain visions - Paripovic notes.

He advises everyone who is now planning to open a cafe or restaurant to create a business plan, from the selection of an architect, a clear concept of what is desired, the target group of consumers, capacity, type of restaurant, type of service, number of employees, to management and marketing.

- Also, to take care of the bar/kitchen, communication, i.e. circulation of the space, as well as adequate service. The kitchen is planned in collaboration with the kitchen technologist and the cook. Conceptualizing space through materials, lighting, function. The key is to have the right ambience, not too cold, not too loud, and when we talk about food, not too many dishes. Sometimes the old one is very important: less is more - advises our interlocutor.

Tijana Vitomir adds that everyone who is involved in construction work, even when it comes to cafes and restaurants, is advised, that the part concerning dimensions and fixed furniture should be done qualitatively and comprehensively, and that mobile furniture is something that can be supplemented over time and on which savings can be made.

- Also, the advice is not to skip steps, it is necessary to design everything first, go through every disputed situation, define the entire space and overlaps of various designers and do all this through the project because it is much more economical to make changes on paper, i.e. on the drawing, but on the spot - reminds our interlocutor.

Instagram corner and Pinterest ideas

Our interlocutors also have advice for clients who come with the desire to create a photogenic space where visitors can take pictures and share those photos on social networks, which will give the place free marketing. Tijana Vitomir reveals that one of the trends on social networks are photos taken in the anterooms of restaurants and cafes. The toilet, from being a part of the accompanying contents of the restaurant and cafe, became a place of "advertising" from the scene.

- Today, there are more and more requests for an attractive toilet hall because there is a high probability that many photos will end up on social networks, through which the facility will be advertised. We like to think that photogenic places are those where the visitor is the center of attention, where there are not many intrusive details, so that the guests can feel free and relaxed and have space for themselves. A satisfied guest is the greatest recommendation and will take the most beautiful photo because he understands the interior - concludes Tijana Vitomir.

Paripovic explains that social networks can benefit restaurant and cafe owners as a tool for presenting the establishment to a wider audience. But they can also be a trap for clients, especially if they see ideas there that cannot be implemented in their facility.

- Pinterest is a network where everyone is looking at something, looking for ideas, but usually something that is seen on Pinterest as an idea, cannot be used in a certain space or space that you design, because it depends on the size of the space, even the size of the wall, width, height ceiling, natural lighting, etc. It`s a bit of a broader picture, it`s not just a "see and copy" option, although that happens very often here - says the architect.

A lot of space is beautifully done or designed, but only a few of them tell a story, he adds.

- The space should have that "Instagram" corner, as many people call it, and the expression has become very popular here. I prefer to say a nice detail or something authentic that will give that client and their space a special touch. And it is not necessary for it to be a single corner for taking pictures, but the space itself as a whole can be unique for making a photo, photogenic in its own way - Vladimir Paripovic concludes.

Marija Dedić