Interview with Roberto Buffadossi, director of the Specialized Study in Gastronomic Architecture Buffadossi and Asoc.
The need to differentiate
At present there are several tendencies In terms of setting styles, the common denominator is the need to differentiate from the competition by achieving a defined and own identity. Beyond the specific style that is chosen, what is aimed is to create an experience for the senses, which allows customers to establish an emotional bond with the place.
Within this framework, various tendencies, depending on the type of food offered, the audience it is aimed at, the geographical area where the place is located, etc. The most important thing, in this sense, is to be able to build a proposal that simultaneously satisfies all the operational, service and marketing needs of the premises.
In recent years, the general trend in gastronomic architecture is sectorization: that is, the creation within the same room of different spaces with different climates and levels of privacy, generated through the use of different furnishings with different levels of height (a bar with stools or high chairs; tables and chairs in the traditional style, private boxes and intimate living rooms, with armchairs and low tables) and a lighting design that adequately accompanies the creation of the different sectors.
Another strong trend is the mix between gastronomy and cultural offer: more and more enterprises are successfully merging art and entertainment with gastronomic service.Depending on the type of public they are targeting, the offer includes from art exhibitions to musical shows or theatrical shows and even, among the most innovative, the incorporation of live DJs musicalizing the evenings.
Within the purely stylistic trends, minimalism, rustic style and ethnic style are some of the most deeply rooted today. Your choice is directly linked to the type of food offered on site.
Minimalism can be identified as that style in which straight lines prevail, the absence of ornaments, the use of pure colors with a predominance of black and white, the search for functionality, the feeling of spaciousness and symmetry, the orderly arrangement and fine finishes. Due to its aesthetic characteristics, it is an appropriate style when what is offered is a kitchen modern, international, kitchen merger or kitchen of author.
Also in recent years, the search for the rustic style has returned in gastronomic architecture. This is characterized by the warmth and feeling of craftsmanship that is generated in the environment from the use of natural materials such as wood, mats or wicker in the coverings, combined with accessories and artisan applications such as looms or tapestries and the use of warm colors, within the palettes of reds, oranges, yellows and earths. Due to its aesthetic characteristics, it is an ideal style for those places that offer a traditional service related to the typical palate of the country where it is developed, such as grills or grilled meats, pasta and home-style meals.
For their part, ethnic styles refer to the cultures of origin that engender them. To achieve an ethnic style, it is necessary to take the iconic elements of that culture and their predominant colors, shapes and materials and translate them into the decoration and setting of a space. This type of setting is used when what it offers in the premises is kitchen typical of a region or country of origin, such as Japanese food (sushi), Chinese food, Thai food, Peruvian food, etc.
When and why did this trend start in gastronomic venues?
It would be impossible to accurately date the beginning, but we could say that in the last decade these trends have taken hold as the gastronomic market has evolved. The gastronomic sector has become one of the most dynamic and thriving thanks to a profound cultural change that has taken place from various vectors: the boom in tourism has brought more consumers accustomed to a high gastronomic level that they demand from the Argentine market quality international standards, globalization and access to more media content have created a new gourmet consumer, more demanding, eager for new gastronomic experiences and an amateur wine expert.
The diversification of the market and the intensification of competition on their part require gastronomic entrepreneurs to pay increasing attention to all the aspects that make the success of an enterprise. And the setting is one of the three pillars that make the success of a restaurant, along with the quality of the food offered as a gastronomic proposal and the quality of customer service.
What are the keys for a restaurant to have its own identity and differentiate itself from the rest, taking into account that there is an important offer?
Identity can be achieved by creatively interpreting the spirit of gastronomic entrepreneurship. The premise when facing the interior design is to be based on a guiding idea that globally guides the generation of the project. Every image or identity is the visual and sensory embodiment of a concept. We must think of identity as an architectural ensemble where, in addition to the scenographic elements, the furniture, the staff clothing, the letters, the bazaar, the table linen, etc., must also be considered, since all these elements constitute the visual elements that must harmonize each other to perfectly achieve the desired objective.
What are the main architectural aspects that you work on to create that identity?
In strictly architectural matters, the fundamental elements to create identity are: colors, shapes, textures and lighting design. The combination of these elements according to the image sought are those that will create the atmosphere and the proposal that is offered to the client. Coatings and lighting are key aspects. The exterior and interior signage - the canopies - is another of the crucial elements to capture the image.
When talking about gastronomic architecture, it is important to note that it has become a specialty within commercial architecture due to the nature of the gastronomic establishment. The setting or creation of the image is a fundamental aspect, but when planning the architecture of a restaurant, bar or confectionery as important as the design of the room is the optimal planning of the service areas (kitchen, warehouses, etc. according to the volume of the planned service, hygiene and safety regulations, etc.), since from it, ultimately, the quality of the provision of the gastronomic service depends.