3 Ways to make your Restaurant’s Interior decor more Sustainable

Green design, is the process of fostering change to products, systems and structures to create more sustainable interior design practices. What is widely associated with sustainable fashion, can be redefined into the Architectural and Interior Design Space. Recently, there has been as increased number of restaurant springing up in the heart of Nairobi. Each unique in their own way, one thing Inspiring is their attempt and inclination towards to implementing sustainable interior design into their décor.

While sustainable options often come with expensive up-front price tags, they often pay off in the long run. So here are a few tips that you can incorporate while designing your restaurant to make it more sustainable.

Utilize locally sourced materials that are produced in a socially responsible manner.

This one is easy and complicated at the same time. Considering that the restaurant industry is largely shaped by international investment, using locally sourced materials should be the norm that comes with setting up in the African Continent.

This is highly encouraged as it helps build local communities and African businesses. Some say that the tradeoff of using both sustainable and local made products is quite expensive but I think that the overall impact that this will have to the community is worth the high investment.

However, it will pay off. Not only is this a sustainable practice, but you are creating a unique brand identity that can also help you drive more business. Clients, especially millennials, are looking for more than just a meal. They are looking for an experience, for a story and incorporating this into your design will help you stand out.

We can do this by:

1. Locally Sourced Furniture Items

Using furniture and core design elements from sources that promote safe manufacturing processes and socially just business practices. More often than not, it is possible to use local sources.

One of my favourite furniture artist is @loveartisan. Their furniture focuses mainly on dinning set seating, stand alone’s, barstools and it is basically the one stop shop to your African Patterned of Kitenge Style seats.

Their designs come in a variety of colours, patterns all inspired by the African or Kitenge Pattern and are simply stunning.

2. Using Reclaimed or Recycled Items

Fortunately, antique and vintage décor is an option for interior designers. Furniture and decorative items can be repurposed, refinished or otherwise refurbished to give them new life. For the truly environmentally conscious, tiles, carpets, fabrics, even sinks and counters can be made from recycled materials.

Use recycled or reused items as much as possible; steer clear of exotic woods or cheap plywood. Here are a few small hacks that every restaurant should follow:

  1. Install energy-efficient hand dryers in bathrooms instead of stocking paper towels.
  2. Use motion-sensor lights for darker set-ups, consider installing solar panels or using natural lighting
  3. Phase out disposable plastics and use more sustainable options like paper straws or metal straws

It’s important to understand what materials the designers are using. If it’s wood, is it reclaimed wood? Are they using non-toxic, natural dyes? Are they using upcycled materials?

Nana Quagraine

3. A mix of creativity and functionality.

This tip is really about understanding your food service process. That is, how you grow your food, have it on display and eventually serve the food. From the onset of service industry, incorporating sustainable practices involves active input from customers, suppliers and everyone in the value chain. Use this information and make it ‘aesthetically pleasing.’ I mean, take a look at the picture below, Cultiva’s Bakery creatively put up its Fresh Bread that is for sale, up as wall are. My first thoughts were, ‘ mhhh, that’s genius’ but also ‘I wonder if my bread will be fresh’.

There so many individual aspects of this restaurant that are so meticulously crafted that embody a complete feeling of which i will bring out further in an upcoming post, so keep an eye out. Overall, I am in love this restaurants philosophy.

Editors Note: Be a Socially Conscious Consumer. Reduce your ecological footprint by embracing environmentally conscious practices.

“Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to make sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”

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