Restaurant Design in Vacation Areas

When designing a restaurant in areas where tourists vacation, consider the following ideas:

  • Tourists like to buy stuff. Design retail for display between 2’-5’ above the floor.
  • Tourists are typically families, so flexibility for large parties and the ability to put multiple tables together is important.
  • When booths are back to back, extend the back a little higher to keep those rambunctious kids from bothering the adjacent table.
  • Maintenance-free washable fabric is a must.
  • Locals like familiarity, especially when they are surrounded by tourists. Use local materials and if a renovation, relate the design back to its original in a new, fresher way.
  • Maximize the location, which is exactly why both tourists and locals visit. If on the beach, make sure the water is always visible when dining. On a mountain, use lots of glass.

There’s nothing like eating in a great restaurant with great food in a great location. What makes it truly special is a great interior and atmosphere.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Sandbar Restaurant, Anna Maria, FL – A Schimberg Group renovation

Top 10 must-haves for a remodeled grocery store

  1. A good refrigeration engineer with grocery store experience
  2. A good MEP engineer with grocery store experience
  3. As-builts of the existing conditions
  4. A good concrete saw with expensive diamond blades
  5. Preparation for lighting replacement throughout
  6. A good stainless steel vendor for hiding those things you just can’t fix
  7. A contractor that understands how to work during open hours and/or after hours
  8. A good equipment buyer to make sure new cases or fixtures are delivered on time
  9. A creative architect
  10. Patient customers

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Top 10 must-haves for a newly-designed grocery store

1)   Consistent bulbs throughout to minimize maintenance issues

2)   Proper lighting over specific foods such as meat, seafood, produce, etc.

3)   Smooth flooring on the sales floor

4)   MMA or Epoxy in the back of house

5)   6’-0” minimum aisle width

6)   Thoughtful location of check-out counters for easy circulation

7)   Well designed and aesthetically clean restrooms

8)   Perimeter cases with grocery in the center of the store

9)   Appealing and interesting soffit signage and décor to attract customers and create a comfortable atmosphere

10)   Easily accessible customer service desk

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Whole Foods Naples, a Schimberg Group project.

Repetition in Architecture

It always amazes me that some of the most interesting walls or ceilings or trellises are created by taking a simple shape or material and repeating it over and over again.  Ultimately, the end result reinvents the original piece in an abstract, but well defined, building element. The patterns become kinetic objects that a person experiences, both visually and often physically. The fact that a wall can be made of hundreds of single elements placed in a repetitive pattern and manipulated to create a three dimensional relationship rather than a single material used in its normal form is an amazing opportunity to take advantage of when one designs. The array of materials and opportunities can appeal to both artistic architects looking to create magazine inspired photos and residential feature walls for the average homeowner. The materials are endless and the patterns are infinite.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Is it worth hiring an architect?

“I don’t need an architect. You’re too expensive and I personally love design. Also, I’ve got a builder that says he can handle it and has a draftsman he uses. It’s included in his price.”

News flash: 1. You get what you pay for. 2. Builders build. Architects design. 3. Architects have degrees in architecture, laboriously sweated through years of schooling and do this for a living. And 4. You’re still paying for something, whether upfront or during construction.

So is it worth hiring an architect? If you answer yes to any of the following, then yes, it is worth hiring an architect.

  • Do you want exactly what you want without compromise?
  • Do you prefer a design that is true to the chosen aesthetic, proportionate and to scale?
  • Do you prefer a modern or contemporary design?
  • Do you prefer a level of quality, design and attention to detail that is above average?

Don’t let our fees scare you. The value of our talent well outweighs the cost and if we are hired throughout construction, we will save you money by minimizing change orders and representing you, the owner. Let builders do what they are good at, building. Let us do what we are good at, designing.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Ben Parker Had It Right

Some people use the word “green.” Some professionals use the word sustainable. We find a more appropriate approach to architecture and interiors is about responsibility. Last time I checked, green is just a color. Sustainability pertains to the future. But responsibility … represents the here and now and most importantly, requires the architect to take ownership of decisions made for our environment, our lifestyles, our buildings and the spaces we occupy.

Responsibility is thinking about site orientation for maximizing sunlight and passive cooling.

Responsibility is selecting materials that can be easily maintained and possibly recycled.

Responsibility is working within a budget and communicating on a regular basis to keep the project moving forward efficiently. (See … it’s not just about design.)

It is an architect’s responsibility to design projects in the best interest of their client’s wallet, their client’s schedule and the environment that we live in. As Spider-Man’s uncle said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The power to shape the built environment warrants an architect’s great responsibility to do it properly.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP


Large Bodies of Water

When flying over large bodies of water, I can’t help myself to just find that school of sharks or whales or anything swimming in the water. It’s about connection, grounding and familiarity. Flying over water in every direction creates a feeling of endlessness. We can relate to earth and ground or buildings, because we can walk on them. We want and need to place our feet on something solid. It is human nature to feel more comfortable flying over mountains or fields or cities. We need buildings and land and rivers and ball fields to connect us back to reality. However, I have to admit that it is sometimes nice to escape and just look for Atlantis.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Housing Developments

We often talk about community. I have attended entire conferences dedicated to that word. What is a community? What makes a community? How does one navigate through a community? As I continue this series on flying, I often see these ‘communities’ set within the environment. Tracts of green or brown land and then gradually, tens, sometimes hundreds of homes, built in some pattern, interconnected by roads and all approximately the same size.The roofs are typically the same color, and from an airplane, the houses all seem white for some reason. Did the developer think about how this ‘community’ would appear from a plane? Though I personally believe communities are created at a pedestrian level, when looking down on a housing development from above, one cannot ignore the impact that all of the roofs and winding roads and spattering of pools has on the definition of community. It’s the 30,000 foot perspective of not living alone.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Manicured Tracts of Land

There is something very beautiful and architectural about flying over land versus water.

In different parts of the country, the Midwest in particular, tracts of land extend as far as the eye can see, in this incredibly geometric pattern. Each area of land is clearly defined with ’pathways’ or tan colored ‘roads’ creating squares, rectangles and parallelograms.

It resembles a city grid, imagining each ‘road’ as a city block and each square as a community unto itself.

Then, each defined grid shape is a different color. Shades of greens, browns and reds all seemingly related, but separate in their function.

One must consider what grows within those tracts to create the different colors and is it possibly deliberate? The farmers’ ultimate patchwork of art on the world’s largest canvas.

And ultimately, this field of angular shapes represents work, thoughtfulness and care. It is American and it is beautiful.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

The Winding River

As I look out the window, all I see is land. I focus on something else on the plane’s fold down tray on my lap and then peer out again. Beginning somewhere, I’m not quite sure where, a winding river is snaking its way through the trees, or the desert or flat lands. It narrows and widens as it continuously curves, seemingly never ending.

I immediately want to know where it starts. A natural spring? A body of water? Are we near the coast or inland?

Are there houses built on the river, creating an opportunity to design a modern, custom home with fabulous views? Or is this just a natural environment home to local species like alligators, birds and mangroves?

In a way, the river is like drawing a line on a page with your eyes closed. There is no real order in its movement, but there is a beginning, there is an end and everything along the way has an interesting shape or turn or relationship to its surrounding.

Sounds a bit like life, huh?

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP