Design of a Fooda restaurant space at The Shops at North Bridge
Fooda partners with local restaurants to offer daily rotating options for lunch. Each day, a different restaurant visits a designated Fooda space (called a popup site) and sells their food.
I led the design of a Fooda popup site at a downtown Chicago mall. I began by familiarizing myself with the popup space and observing the flow of traffic throughout the food court. I put myself in the customer’s shoes, envisioning what it would be like to read a menu, order food, and pay for my lunch. I wanted to design a process that would be smooth and enjoyable for future customers.
A small budget drove me to become more inventive and resourceful. The space was oddly shaped and one of the walls had uneven edges and awkwardly jutted out. I wanted to clean it up and create a wall that looked purposeful and served as a backdrop for restaurant menus. I decided to cover the wall in wood planks. However, a white-washed wood planked wall was too expensive to buy, so I had to make it myself. I drove to Home Depot, loaded 70 square feet of lumber into my ‘93 Accord, and hauled it up to my 12th floor apartment. I covered my entire floor in wood planks and painted them white. The whole process took 16 hours and multiple coats of paint, but I got a new facade out of it for a third of the price.
Once the design of the Fooda space was complete, I created a marketing campaign around it. I organized a photoshoot, took and edited photos, created emails, wrote copy, designed and printed banners, and put together a video ad. I stayed up late for several nights watching After Effects tutorials so that I could create a motion graphic video to promote Fooda. The 15 second video now plays on a 10ft screen at the entrance of The Shops at North Bridge.
During this project, I shed my title of digital product designer and became an architect, an interior designer, a manager, and a painter (the Tom Sawyer variety). I enjoyed the refreshing autonomy and the variety of problems that I got to solve. Designing a space, coordinating the installation of materials, and launching a marketing campaign in under 3 weeks was a challenging, but rewarding process.