Month: October 2013

Restaurant owners looking to capitalize on the latest design trends may want to consider paring down the number of accessories and features in a dining space. According to The Independent, many restaurant owners who won this year’s Restaurant and Bar Design Awards used sleek design features and made the visual impact of a space rest more on the industrial design of the structure than using accessories.

“Good design is all about creating something that is going to last,” said Marco Rebora, the RBDA founder, according to the news source. “It’s not about spending millions of pounds on creating a huge statement. If you fail to consider how your guests are actually going to feel within that space, you will go bust within a year.”

Simplistic design grows in popularity
The Independent reported that the restaurants that have been gaining popularity and recognition for their design are incorporating simple aesthetic elements. The ornate design aesthetic that was so popular in previous decades is now out of style.

“The ostentatiousness of the pre-recession era has gone. Unrefined finishes and lots of stone and wood are key at the moment. Foster + Partner’s Atrium Champagne Bar is all about simple stone. Host, in Denmark by Norm Architects, is all very down-to-earth raw wood,” said Rebora.

Rustic designs feature shabby chic interiors
While some design professionals working on restaurants are creating spaces that remove the ornate look of decades gone past, others are trying to recreate a more lived-in look as if this design aesthetic has faded.

“It’s almost anti-design in that they are not slick but distressed and rustic, influenced by the rough-and-ready sensibility of pop-ups and the farm-to-table food trend,” said Bethan Ryder, author of two books on the subject – Restaurant Design and New Restaurant Design.

This means that designers are using reclaimed wood, different types of patterned metals and textured fabrics.

“I wanted to create the kind of place that I feel comfortable in but couldn’t afford a designer or expensive fixtures and fittings. The whole stripping back thing is something that is very important to me in terms of decor as well as the food that we serve – our dishes are very simple with very few ingredients,” Ben McCormack, editor of SquareMeal.co.uk, told the news source.

Using quality simple materials
SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that is built with beauty and function in mind. SCULPTCOR can be used in a wide range of applications in a restaurant from wall panels, column covers, exterior facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture.

The system is fabricated from a non-porous, stain-resistant and easy-to-clean surface that is ideal for a restaurant to use and offers the right blend of flexibility and statement for a restaurant looking to create an impression on diners.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.


Malls represent different things to different generations. As teens hang out at the food court, mothers are trying to get all of their shopping done for the day in one convenient stop. However, with the advancement and growing popularity of online shopping takes off, malls are seeing the number of visitors walking through their doors slightly decrease.

Importance of creating a memorable shopping experience
Despite this, sales are holding strong because those that are heading to the mall have a shopping plan of action in mind typically. Businesses are creating retail spaces that attract buyers who are looking for a particular experience that is not possible to attain online, reported QSR Magazine. However, that's not the case for smaller retail chains that are adapting to changing consumer trends.

Restaurants and other mall dining establishments that are doing well often create a unique experience for diners to appreciate. According to International Council of Shopping Centers spokesman Jesse Tron the focus is creating restaurants that feature entertainment as part of their integral offerings.

Malls attract people to spend considerable time in one place. As a result, people get hungry and start to looking for a place to eat. The restaurants that are doing better in malls and other large shopping venues are those that encourage people to spend time off their feet and enjoy a unique experience.

Creating mall dining establishments
Malls Owners and management companies are beginning to turn traditional food courts into more centralized, eye-catching spaces. Tron told QSR Magazine that malls are beginning to create more comfortable food courts that encourage people to spend more time. Personal spaces with greater privacy, comfortable seating and beautiful works of art are being included in the design concept. A focus on creating visually stimulating spaces will encourage visitors to spend a more time shopping.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.


Interior designers and contractors who specialize in restaurant spaces are looking to the future for the latest trends. Like something out of a science fiction novel, restaurants are incorporating technology in new ways in dining spaces. Bold colors, expressive designs and the use of technology is being demonstrated in many different styles of restaurants. 

Tablet technology in restaurants
Both independent and chain restaurants are making use of tablet technology in dining areas. Restaurant Development and Design Magazine reported that dining establishments are integrating a number of different technologies in their stores, both from the ground up and in retrofit designs. 

"Technology can be used as a point of differentiation within the restaurant industry and especially with millennials," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based research firm Technomic, according to the news source. "Operators who want to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive market will need to evaluate the best use for the latest tech trends and decide how to integrate them into their operations. This may mean having a printed menu available, as well as an iPad/tablet computer." 

Some may believe that restaurant owners are jumping the gun by adding tablets to dining areas, but a new survey has found that many consumers enjoy this feature. Technomic reported that 51 percent of consumers surveyed feel it's important for restaurants to integrate technology into ordering, particularly through tableside touch-screen devices. 

Integrating video monitors into atrium architectural spaces
Monitors are a common sight in many different types of spaces.  However, they should be used sparingly or placed in areas that will get the most notice. Instead of placing televisions just in the bar areas, some restaurant owners are looking to use this technology as a visual feature wall or piece of modern art. By placing video monitors along one wall that is built to visually capture the interest of visitors, a restaurant can make a unique impression on customers.

The newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavilion Atrium located in Washington DC is anything but your typical suburban shopping mall. ASST was retained by Hitt Contracting and worked closely with the creative design agency streetsense to create an amazing design experience for the atrium lounge spaces. The three story interactive lighted media wall was fabricated with 3form resin panels. ASST provided design assistance for the technical aspects of the wall while lighting designers iDesign based in Miami provided the interactive lighting solution and installation.

ASST SCOPE OF WORK: Design assist, fabrication & installation of the 3 form translucent resin light wall, escalators, stair risers, walnut wood casework & upholstered seating and Starbucks Coffee kiosk.

KUDOS: ASST was awarded the Craftsmanship Excellence Award from the Washington Building Congress.

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:   Hours are Mon-Sat 7 am-11 pm; Sun 7 am-9 pm. Address: 5335 Wisconsin Ave NW; Washington DC 20015

SUGGESTIONS: Get a latte at the new Starbucks, enjoy the comfortable lounge seating and surf the web on your iPad or just people watch.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.


More and more retail brands are trying to create a unique experience for customers who walk into their brick-and-mortar locations. Instead of competing with big box brands that promise low prices, but a generic experience, higher-end retailers are going in the opposite direction by commanding market strength by offering a unique atmosphere and experience when shopping in their locations. 

Item value tied to retail interior design
The value of an item is not just inherently tied to what it can accomplish and what materials went into making it, but also whether it was purchased in a store that promises sustainability or humanitarian efforts as well. Consumers are making active decisions to support lifestyles and causes with their purchase, but in return, are asking businesses to create an overall experience for when they walk in the front doors. 

High-end retailers have known this secret for years. Many fashion brands have specialized in giving customers a unique, brand-specific atmosphere that made shopping more like an event than simply wandering through racks of clothes. A business owner can create a space that invites customers take in the entire sense of a brand with the right interior design elements in a store.

Industrial design grows in popularity
Many interior designers are finding that industrial-themed creations are growing in popularity. The lines and mix of both modern and older materials are visually stimulating and, as a result, customers enjoy perusing the retail space and the products or services available for sale. To accomplish this look, many retail interior designers are working to implement the use of versatile, durable materials that are modern, in conjunction with less elegant and rougher textured options. Smooth materials, polished steel and statement walls made of brick or wood are making a huge comeback in terms of trendy styles. 

Incorporate modern with traditional materials
By combining modern, innovative materials with more traditional options, an interior designer is able to create visual interest in a space. Developing an industrial space takes patience and the understanding that every piece included in the design must be multi-purpose. SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a thermoformed wall panel system that can offer a wide range of solutions to a retail store. The architectural wall panels have already proven successful in a wide range of retail spaces as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture.