Element Restaurant and Lounge a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Cara McKedy addresses the design process for Element Restaurant and Lounge in St Louis, MO.


Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

We believe that the positive reviews this restaurant has received are partially due to the unique atmosphere. We worked in conjunction with the entire restaurant team on this project to support their vision, and it turned out to be a really great showpiece of both design and food. This proves that the atmosphere of a restaurant can be just as impactful to visitors as the food on their plates.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

We had a fixed timeline on this project, so we worked from the beginning with a team consisting of Remiger Design as the architects and designers, the owner’s rep, the chef of the restaurant, the general contractor and the food service consultant. This allowed us to include feedback from every party in the design and create a space that met everyone’s needs. The owner wanted to include enough seating to remain profitable, the chef helped our team understand the type of preparation space he needed, and the general contractor worked with us to ensure schedule and budget adherence throughout the process.


What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

Creating a well thought-out, functional design is much easier when you have the input of both the contractor and the end user of the space. Our advice to future designers would be to incorporate as much feedback as possible from the end user while working with the contractor to keep the schedule and budget in check. This will help create spaces that meet the needs of the client and don’t exceed budget or timeline limitations.

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