The McDesign, Are You Loving It?

November 23, 2011

If there was ever a project to get us excited it was going to be today’s feature project. It would be fair to say that fast food restaurant interiors are not renowned for having the best of designs.  More often than not the interiors are altogether boring and bland, white walls with a lick or two of paint, giant imposed graphics covering those walls, greyish white tile flooring and plastic seats with unnaturally glossy MDF tables; it’s the same look and feel amongst all of the major companies, the only difference usually being the branding and graphics.

McDonalds have decided to do something different in their French outlets, they have commissioned French designer Patrick Norguet to develop a new concept for their stores. The concept is a vast improvement on previous renditions of the popular fast food chain and has a much more adult and sophisticated look to it. Norguet’s brief and part of the concept was to reintroduce McDonalds as a family friendly area, from the design we can see that Norguet has sought to achieve this by designing more privatised booths and seating sections where families can dine. An important element to this was also controlling the noise issues, fast food restaurants are an incredible hive of activity and can be a right pain in the bum to sit in for any longer than fifteen minutes before a pounding headache comes on, with this design Norguet has had to find a solution to this problem, the new seating plan and segregated areas is the main solution to the acoustic problems.

This design is definitely a step in the right direction, it does look great on first inspection, but when you peel back all the layers the mainstays of the aforementioned description of a traditional “fast food joint” still remain, the greyish tiled flooring, white walls, plastic seats and MDF. Maybe overdesigning a fast food restaurant is the wrong thing to do, take the glass doors as example, they look fantastic but from a usability point of view how long before greasy smear marks from customers hands dominate the glass? Have a look at the images below, what do you think? Is this a step in the right direction or a marketing ploy that will never take off?  For us we think Norguet has done a tremendous job but it is so difficult to shape or rid out initial thoughts when we think of fast food restaurant design, it has been imbedded in our heads for decades but with new projects like this coming to the fore perhaps our prejudices towards fast food restaurant design will change.