A hotelier or restaurateur who consistently aligns the design of his premises with his strategy and his target group gains a competitive advantage. A consistent and coherent colour and material concept is a relatively low investment compared to the total costs of a new building or a complete renovation.
Interior design is an important success factor for gastronomy. When the guest arrives at the hotel or visits a restaurant, he always expects a special experience in houses of every category that offers him a pleasant change from his everyday life at home. If it is possible to create a pleasant atmosphere through harmonious interior design, a guest establishment can stand out positively from its competitors. Since the architectural profile of a hotel should always correspond to that of its offer, interventions in the design – whether through new construction or conversion projects or through changes to the interior design – are always also of strategic importance. It is therefore always advisable to consult experts such as colour consultants or interior designers, even for minor changes.
A decisive factor for a successful interior design is the focus on the target group. On this basis, a differentiated concept can be created for an entire building, which not only includes the highly frequented areas such as reception, dining rooms, restaurants, conference rooms, wellness and fitness areas, but also hotel rooms, corridors and ancillary rooms. Such a master plan can be used as a guide for renovation work carried out in stages. This allows complex investment costs to be spread over several years. This enables the consistent step-by-step development of the optical appearance of a house.
Although a precise design concept makes highly individual statements about the design of a business, it is also possible to formulate some general principles that apply to every interior concept that is created for a restaurant. For example, it is essential to ensure that the colour scheme and choice of materials meet the requirements of a hotel. If a representative company wants to appeal to a demanding public, this should definitely be expressed in an appropriate colour scheme and high-quality materials. Conversely, simple inns should also ensure that they convey a cosy, personal or civic ambience, or at best a rustic ambience. Under no circumstances should they irritate or even annoy the guests by an ill-considered choice of colour.
Especially with the targeted and well thought-out use of colour, a decisive effect can be achieved in the design of gastronomy rooms. Many hosts underestimate the influence that colour has on people’s minds. The color psychological realizations over the stimulating or soothing effect of certain colors are common property. What is less well known is that colours can also stimulate physiological processes in the body by stimulating functions of the autonomic nervous system and can also promote the release of certain hormones. A colour consultant who works on the basis of these scientific findings sets the right level of stimuli depending on the function of a room in order to achieve the desired room atmosphere.
In hotels and restaurants, it is particularly important to consider that all five human senses should be addressed simultaneously. In dining rooms in particular, the synaesthetic – i.e. senses-overlapping effect of colour must be taken into account. The sense of freshness and appetite can, for example, be supported by a clever choice of colours. Contrasts between food and the immediate environment in which it is served must be taken into account.
It goes without saying that table textiles and tableware should also be included in a colour and material concept. Naturally the necessary attention should also be paid to lighting, especially in dining rooms. Because its quality determines how colours are perceived and where guests’ attention is directed. Guests attach great importance to a pleasant ambience. Simply because good food tastes better in pleasant company and in comfortable surroundings. If you succeed in creating a pleasant atmosphere, you can enhance the quality of your dishes. This gives every restaurateur a decisive advantage over their competitors.
In hotel rooms and corridors, a lively and varied colour scheme provides an invigorating environment in which people enjoy spending time. Square rooms can be made more interesting by using different coloured walls, while the proportions of long rooms can be optically corrected by clever use of contrasts. A fresh and lively design, which consciously uses colours, creates a clear contrast to the colour in the guests’ homes and thus also a desired contrast to their everyday lives. This is especially true for motels and motorway service areas. The bold use of colour can create an invigorating contrast to the monotonous drive on the motorway.
What does it mean in concrete terms to align a design concept with a specific target group? This is illustrated by the increasingly important group of affluent, mobile senior citizens who have plenty of time to travel and for shorter and longer holidays.
If you want to orient your business towards senior citizens, you have to know their special needs and take them into account when designing your business. In addition to comfort, older people in hotels also value security and safety. This need for security can be promoted, for example, through targeted structural measures. This can be achieved, for example, by removing barriers (steps, heels) or at least clearly marking them optically and by ensuring that bathrooms are equipped to meet the needs of the elderly.
The colour consultant can also design a specific colour and material concept that is specifically tailored to senior citizens. He pays attention to high-contrast colour combinations in order to accommodate the reduced visual acuity of older people. Materials should not produce shiny reflections. Glare resistance must be ensured throughout the house. Unnecessary irritations, which can also lead to falls, are thus avoided. Finally, paint can also be used as an orientation aid. In the case of large buildings, this knowledge can be used to distinguish between individual floors – for example when exiting the elevator – or to design a signage or signage concept.
Analogous design principles can of course also be applied to other target groups such as families, business people, young athletes, Asian tourists, etc.
Martin Tanner lives and works in Cham, Switzerland. As a colour consultant and designer IACC as well as a state-certified designer (Germany) he advises companies and private individuals and creates scientifically based colour and material concepts for hotels and restaurants, industrial companies, office landscapes, schools, homes, hospitals, residential buildings, etc.
Author: Martin Tanner
Published in: Hotelier – The Swiss trade magazine for hotels and gastronomy, 2010