The designed/found duality is echoed in the layout of the space itself, which combines a fixed interior landscape with flexible elements that allow the restaurant to accommodate groups of different sizes and adapt to host different functions. Although the design was developed before the coronavirus pandemic, this adaptability also facilitates the application of social-distancing measures in the wake of Covid-19.
“The challenge of the layout was to get the space to feel connected, inviting and personal but still optimised to the needs of the business, says Andrew. ‘We worked for a long time on finding a way to make the space feel like a beachside diner in the middle of a Californian highway adventure, somewhere that had organically grown over time. We knew it couldn’t feel like a copy-paste canteen – it had to feel like you were entering a person’s memories.’
Studio Alt Shift has also carefully considered every stage of the diner’s journey, and ensured that flow within the space operates effortlessly, from entry, ordering and food collection to clearing tables and departure. The studio’s attention to detail extends even to the smallest elements of the experience – right down to the folded- aluminium condiment trays on the tables.
Studio Alt Shift is a London-based practice founded in 2006 by Shai Akram and Andrew Haythornthwaite.
Photography by Lucas Hardonk