Food has taken over our high streets and town centres. You can't move for stone baked pizzas, lobsters and dirty burgers. No longer the preserve of Soho and Shoreditch, this pop-up and drop-in foodie revolution is complete and all encompassing.
I guess you know transformation has happened when your kids start asking for sweet potato fries!
In truth I have been at the heart of this transformation and been leading clients in this mass casualisation for the best part of a decade. It has changed the habits, aspirations and expectations of everyone.
So what about the bars? What about the clubs? Does anyone go to them anymore or is everyone in some dirty burger coma?
You bet! Bars and clubs are back in business. People want them as much, if not more than ever, but there has been a giant change, and that's in the way they are used, and by whom.
It was once the rule that young people went to trendy places - louder, noisy, more casual, whilst the more, shall we say, mature customer was after something more grown up, maybe "a grab-a-granny" session down the Ritzy! My how times have changed.
I noticed a year or two ago that the lines between the young and the old are increasingly blurred. In fact, so blurred I'm not sure they're visible anymore. People want to go out and play, regardless of age and will not settle for any old night out. If you're not refurbed and looking good, no one will bother with you. Make yourself into something cool, edgy and 'of the now', and you'll be jammed. Whether you're 24 or 54, the desire is the same.
To go to places you can instagram, that add to your social image and make a statement.
It has, for many, changed design forever.
Twelve months ago we were approached by Deltic Leisure to reinvent a part of their estate that was, to put it bluntly, effin' awful! Out of date, miserable, uninvested, and rancid.
Armed with our instincts and market knowledge we created Bar&Beyond for them. A concept that was created to re-invent this batch of high street properties.
Somewhere that could operate as a town centre bar and transform into a sort of club later....
They gave us full and complete support, letting us create something we knew would grab the zeitgeist, own the moment. And we did.
Bar&Beyond is purposely designed to give a mainstream customer some edge and cool. Enough quirks and humour to relax everyone and enough designer features to flood the social networks with images. B&B has attitude and a swagger. It's not tied down by corporate knobs and genuinely feels more independent, every time one opens.
Like anything new and edgy, people take sides in terms of opinion, and the original design scheme for this concept divided opinion like nothing we have presented before. Some laughed and said it'll be a disaster. Some just raised eyebrows and waited to see it pan out and others got very excited.
Luckily, the very excited got their way and won the day. It has created a bow wave of design change across the towns of the UK, deeming most places corporate or contrived in its wake. And that is a good thing. Design has to both mirror life and lead it to. Show that the good stuff is not just for the hip and rich, but for all.
Design changed the way the UK now eats out. Design will also change the way it plays and parties.
The disco may have died but nobody is going to bed early.
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