Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market
Catering Design Group creative director Drew Keen shares his thoughts on how retailers can keep abreast of the latest trends in their in-store eatery or farm shop. Here he focuses on the love for Scandi design. Why has the UK fallen in love with Scandinavian design? Well you may have heard of hygge, but where do its roots lie? Put simply it's a Danish concept derived from a Norwegian word which roughly translates as wellbeing. The philosophy of hygge can be replicated beautifully in a garden centre and farm shop environment as it embraces simplicity, warmth, calmness and comfort within a space. It's courtesy of the hygge-factor that we're now seeing a growing trend in garden centre and farm shop restaurant design towards 'Scandi-style' concepts.

The simplicity and ethos of Scandinavian style can already be found throughout the UK - and definitely not solely through IKEA, who we have to thank for bringing it to our attention. At the heart of Scandi-style lies an unfussiness and simplicity that delivers clean lines - using colour palettes of greys, whites and blues, which contrast with pops of colour, all of which are set against natural materials such as stripped wood to create understated, elegant spaces.

With Nordic countries boasting some of the best design schools in the world, such as the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway, it's no wonder that we're really starting to feel this influence as a huge trend in the UK. Scandi interior design is perceived as innovative, however embodying Scandinavian soul - so, functional and honest, yet delivering the highest quality craftsmanship.

As designers we always strive to produce an operationally efficient restaurant or café space that will drive footfall and work hard to increase sales. To do this, we must always consider how the space should look, feel and operate as part of the overall customer experience.

A move to a simpler style
Over the past decade, interior design within garden centre and farm shop restaurant spaces has had a strong focus on upcycling and recycling, which has seen interiors move into categories such as vintage, shabby chic and market kitchen, with lots of herb pots and 'tongue and groove' wood.

However, the move to Scandi-style has seen major retailers adopt its principles for their in-store cafés and restaurants, taking key elements of the design style, such as the furniture and colour palettes to create a harmonious, relaxing and inviting environment for their customers.

Scandi-style has never been cooler and is going to be with us for a very long time indeed. Why? Because it replicates how many UK consumers are choosing to live today. More and more we're reading in the news how we're downsizing, moving away from cities into the country for a simpler existence, which doesn't in any way replicate mass-consumerism - it's simple and it is humble.

Hygge is inspired by nature, its stripped or bleached wood, concrete and ceramic finishes, together with typical Scandinavian colour palettes are perfectly suited to a garden centre or farm shop environment. Use white walls to reflect light to create a spacious and airy environment. Incorporate the classic cool greys and blues of the style, and complement with splashes of colour, such as yellow and teal to add vibrancy and warmth creating a feel of elegant minimalism, the ideal backdrop to showcase the food offer. All that remains to finish the look is a blend of textures and motifs to bring everything together and convey a 'feel good' factor.

Make it work for you
The trick to ensuring this trend works for you is making it relevant your target audience. Think stripped back wood and modern, classic touches of furniture which have a nod to the iconic designs of the 1950's, such as Hans J. Wegner's 'wish bone chair'. Such statement pieces can really accentuate your café or restaurant space and are becoming much more accessible.

Remember, at the heart of Scandi-style is warm functionality. It is about creating the sense of hygge for customers, so that on entering your food outlet they feel instantly comfortable, relaxed and calm. Hygge should emerge effortlessly from every element of the design, from the texture and finishes of the materials, natural tones on the walls, to the shapes of your furniture. Ultimately, what Scandinavian style will do is provide a memorable experience for your customers who will want to visit again and again.

View User Profile for Drew Keen Catering Design Group creative director Drew Keen offers his insight into creating succcessful catering operations in retail stores, as well as key trends within the sector.

Posted by Drew Keen | 9 October 2015 | 16:32 | More from: Creative catering

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