MY WORKS: willow’s a first in restaurant design

It has been two weeks of insanity and I appreciate your patience. I’m happy to say I’m back and that although the work load during finals was exhausting the payoff was definitely worth it.  When you are in the midst of it, it feels like you might never finish and to be honest the closer you come to the finish line the harder it is to push forward. Just remember that as soon as you do cross it, there’s nothing like that victory lap, knowing that you are fully capable of accomplishing that degree of work.  So for all of you out there continuously challenging yourselves to push forward and achieve more don’t forget to be proud of all that you have accomplished.

As I mentioned in the Cram time post I will be showcasing my final restaurant design and I have offered the opportunity to other students at my school to show off their work.   So hopefully they will take me up on my offer after our week off.  To start off the expose I am proud to present to you “willow’s”.

A restaurant design that encompasses 3 fundamental elements;

Starting with the first element of Functionality and Comfort for both the clients as well as employees.

Achieved through;

1) Circulation & Spacing

2) Furnishing

Having an alternative entrance and exit for staff as well as loading supplies and garbage removal increases efficiency of performing restaurant tasks while prioritizing the main entrance for patrons only. Your first impression entering the restaurant is derived from the long corridor forming the bar.  The bar sits 10 people comfortably with a full wall shelving unit along the adjacent wall. When entering the restaurant you’re first greeted by the hostess who can either show you to your table or  if none are available provide you with a drink and space to rest it comfortably along the  shelving unit.  Proceeding into the main dining room to your left are tables of two with their own intimate area, followed by a stationary custom built banquette, separating the tables of four. The tables of four can be rearranged for larger group seatings as well as handicap accessibility.

The main dining room has two principle openings, the first allowing access to the washrooms. Starting with the mens, followed by the women’s and at the end of the hall the adapted washroom with larger spacing.

The second principle opening is dual functional, acting as an emergency exit hallway as well as entrance and exit to the kitchen.  Having a hallway for the entrance and exit to the kitchen negates the need for kitchen doors allowing easy access and exit when serving.  Once in the kitchen to left for functionality purposes we have the dishwashing area and to the right a service station where employees can perform restaurant tasks such as rolling cutlery. Proceeding along the main path of circulation we then have the expediting area for servers to easily pick up their orders.  The office/locker room and staff washroom sits at the end of the main path of circulation intersecting with the staff entrance and exit.  Avoiding the necessity of walking through the entire kitchen when first arriving at work.  Continuing down the staff entrance and exit path, to the left we have the dry storage followed by the garbage room, refrigerator and freezer area running along the exterior wall for easy removal as well as loading of supplies.

At the end of the kitchen exit and entrance hall we have an emergency stairwell that can be utilized for service to the mezzanine dining area prioritizing the staircase at the end of the main dining room solely for patron use.

Once reaching the mezzanine area the circulation is vast occupied by tables of four which can be rearranged for larger group seatings as well as events.  At the end of the dining area recessed into a floating wall is a service station spanning the entire length.  The station sits at 3 ft. with an above section reserved for open and closed shelving showcasing wine.  Similar to the open and closed display design from Merus Winery shown below

The second aspect of the first element integrates the aesthetics of furnishings with the functionality of comfort.

The main dining chair is inspired by the Wishbone Chair above but upholstered with a similar fabric shown in the image below to achieve a higher level of comfort.

You can also see the upholstered dining chair in the rendered image below of the dining room looking towards the entrance and bar.

The same was done for the Natur stool using a light beige fabric as shown in the rendered images below.

The stationary custom built banquette shown below was inspired by another Uxus design this one being from Restaurant Ella Dining Room & Bar Design.

I used a laminated bamboo plywood to mimic the solid wood appearance and a similar tone grey fabric to upholster the banquette seating.  I was able to achieve a beautiful natural appearance with a lower banquette in order to maintain a clear view across the main dining room.

The Second Element

Inspired by an iconic architect Mies Van Der Rohe among others, I wished to achieve that feeling of a barrier free environment.  Van Der Rohe is famous for using a single material streaming from indoors to outdoors with minimal division creating that essense.

Above the Barcelona Pavilion Designed by Mies Van Der Rohe for the 1929 International Exposition

As you can see from this rendered axonometric view I have utilized similar techiniques to that of my predecessors to achieve a sheltered outdoor environment.  First I have extended the horizontal lines by using the concrete tiles to create a terrace. Concrete tiles- a durable choice of material for our environment.  Second I have extended the vertical lines to create a minimalist transparent division.  The reason behind the group of 3 smaller rectangle windows at the top is to produce better air circulation allowing hot air to rise and escape.

The 2nd aspect to the Second Element is the willow tree integrated into a storm theme. Starting with the Storm;

I thought it was fitting to locate the drama/turbulence of a storm into the bar area. I was inspired by the Jing Restaurant design in Singapore shown below

I wanted to create this sculptural ceiling structure to mimic the essence of rolling thunder.  In order to do so I need to create a long linear channel to achieve the full effect.

As you can see from this wire-frame axonometric view I have extended the rolling thunder to commence outdoors and run through the entire bar corridor in a linear mode. Also shown in a rendered version below.

There has always been something so majestic about the calm after a storm and I wanted the main dining area to reflect that feeling. This is also where the willow tree came into play. If you have ever witnessed a willow tree after a storm, it’s branches rest so still while the water beneath lays flat and calm.

The willow tree became the main focal point engraved into the far wall, scaling the stair well with a shallow pool of water beneath. I was originally inspired by the engravings from Gjeline Restaurant design shown below.

as well as this sketch of a willow tree

As you can see in the rendered image shown below the stair rail is held by a minimal transparent floor to ceiling glass that encloses the recessed pool of water so that it appears flush to the main floor.

After the calm comes the clearing, giving way to a starry night’s sky.  This was to be achieved on the mezzanine level where the vast spacing of the table arrangements allowed for a busy ceiling plan.  I was inspired by the cylindrical luminaire’s from Char NO. 4 Design and clustered them in a similar fashion above the mezzanine dining area.

I was able to find a similar pendant produced by Tech Lighting and supplied through a Montreal and Ottawa Location Arevco.

All the elements in my restaurant conception work simultaneously together to create the end result.  That being said the preliminary stages of my design required a lot of trial and error. I would like to say that the layout came to me naturally but that would be a blaiten lie.  Each area was meticulously reworked to compliment each other and integrate design elements.

Starting with the main floor I created the corridor to highlight the linear sculptural ceiling creating the illusion of movement/ forward pull. The bar corridor deliberately ends with the beginning of a perfect symmetrical rectangle forming the main dining area.  To integrate the existing columns I aligned them with the middle beam of the banquette. The end of the stationary banquette marks the beginning of the wine cellar and the four top tables align with the second window division.  The green outline marks the mezzanine level which forms the second rectangle.

In order to maintain the symmetry on the mezzanine level I recessed the service station and display case into the floating wall that sits above the suspended ceiling  structure below.

The sourcing for this project required a little extra effort to not only create an environment designed around nature but also to be ecologically conscious of the resources which were to be used. Fortunately there are numerous firms in the Montreal area with similar mindsets that were willing to share their expertise and material supplier contacts. That being said the materials used in the construction of willow’s have all been considered because of their high environmental standards.

So there you have it my first restaurant design hope you like it!


  1. Karen LeVasseur says:

    Hi Sascha – Fantastic work!

    • Sascha says:

      Thank you Karen I am currently working on perfecting the project and completing more renders to provide a better visual representation of the whole project for Sidim.

  2. Maya Shoucair says:

    Sascha, this is awesome!

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