Even in a city with as many cuisine options as New York, lunch can start to feel really repetitive day after day. Treehaus is a dining concept that aims to take some of the mundanity out of the hunt for lunch by taking the traditional buffet counter and turning it into a sort of urban foraging ground where diners can try out all sorts of freshly prepared dishes. Designed by UnSpace, the Midtown restaurant incorporates sustainable strategies and an element of discovery within a clean, woodsy interior.
The spatial organization of the lunch spot is sculpted by the relationships between objects and different types of food. The design purposely conceals the food from the exterior of the building to encourage the instinctive approach of discovery. The large sculptural elements guide people through the open space for a type of urban foraging.
There are three main design components that envelop the food and other eatery functions. The first is 20-foot-tall cedar wood planks sheltering the register. The second object is a white rectangular vessel housing a variety of hot food selections and greeting the entrance with its solid face. The third element is a series of angled wood planks wrapping the mezzanine, enclosing a quiet eating oasis. The materials on all three elements are kept raw with minimal treatment and cuts to allow natural aging and support the urban foraging theme.
With the simplified menu and creative spatial organization, the consumer satisfaction and food quality improved dramatically, exceeding expectations. Reduced options decreased decision-making time and increased food production speed. As a result, venue sales value grew, with a more efficient and manageable one-hour lunch rush. The key to sustainability is good design and efficiency; no amount of recycling equals using less from the beginning.
Lead image: Treehaus. All other photos ©Yukari Yamahiro for Inhabitat.
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