Food Junction is one of the largest food court operators in Singapore. When they first approached Outofstock to design a 1,500 square-metre pilot concept, we asked ourselves what can be done to improve the food court dining experience. We identified some of the common issues users encounter when dining in a food court – loud ambient noises, problems with tray return and way finding, as well as the often horrible furniture. Some of the key questions we asked in the design phase were “Could we design a food court, with a budget of less than 70 Euros per seat, but not bow to using cheap replicas or low quality furniture? Are we able to encourage people to return their trays, as well as highlight the locations of fire extinguishers, in a fun and engaging way? How do we dampen the noise that is generated by such a large number of people dining in an indoor space?”.
The food court is located in Bugis, a youthful arts and cultural district in Singapore with many art schools/design colleges and museums in the vicinity. The demographics of the diners in the food court are mainly students and young working professionals, we decided to use a palette of vibrant colors and materials in the design of the interiors to reflect the vibrant art scene of this precinct as well as to engage these youthful diners. Portuguese acoustic cork panels were installed on the ceiling to dampen the noise from the large number of diners that fill the space during lunch and dinner hours. We also collaborated with two different artists for way finding signages for fire extinguishers and tray return stations.
For furniture, we turned to one of the classics of modern furniture – the original Polypropylene chair designed by Robin Day and manufactured by Hille. We worked closely with Hille to customize colors for the metal frame and seat shells, and from the significant cost savings from furnishing 50 percent of the food court with these affordable chairs, we were able to use the remaining budget for lighting and furniture from Magis, Hay, Muuto and Gubi, as well as our own bespoke designs.
The commercial dining market in Asia is overran with replica furniture, especially in the furnishing of food courts and mass-market restaurants. We wanted to make a statement in Singapore, that this food court is furnished with 100% original designs. We hope that this will be a good example for other companies and dining establishments to follow.