Feature Friday: Yuna Megre | Award Winning Restaurant Designer

Award winning, international designer, Yuna Megre tells us what you need to know before you begin designing your restaurant.

Yuna Megre is a Russian born hospitality interior designer who focuses on designing spaces for hotels and restaurants. Her most recent design project for a restaurant called Mari Vanna located in London was awarded by Open Table as one of the Top 100 restaurants in the UK. The eclectic design and cozy composition of the restaurant pairs perfectly with the home-style cooking, which has garnered widespread international attention. Yuna would love to share more about her maximalist approach to designing a restaurant and why the restaurant is a must visit destination. 
What are most important things to consider when you are designing a restaurant or bar?
  1. Remember that you’re in the hospitality industry: I am simply pointing out that “we all serve at the pleasure of the queen”. And the queen here is our audience. And it’s our group challenge to see them, feel them, give them what they want, what they need, to surprise and challenge them.
  2. Remember that your restaurant is a business: a restaurant is a functioning business, and we, as designers have to make it function at its price efficiency. We have to design bars, in a way that make bartenders work efficiently, we have to design seats in a way that serves our concept – either provoking people to quickly eat and leave or to stay for a long time and relax, we have to design flows, so that both staff and guests do not disturb each other and interact in a pleasant way…. The list is endless. The essence is – we have to create a working organism
What factors should you take into consideration when you are designing for a client?
  1.  Analyze what it is you are set to design, and for what purpose, then I consider who we you are doing the project with.
  2. Once you take the people in the project into consideration, consider what assets you have at our disposal.
  3. Finally ask yourself, why are we doing this, who are we doing it for and last but never least, what is the end goal?

Ruski Restaurant, Moscow

How do you balance the vision of your client with your own vision in each project?

Projects are living organisms– it’s not about my ego or the client’s ego, but the identity of the project itself. Adhere to the philosophy that the concept you are creating is the essence, is the key. 

Mari Vanna Restaurant, London

What is the biggest advice you would give someone who wants to design their own restaurant or bar?
  1. Make sure you understand this is the toughest business to be in.
  2. Make sure you surround yourself with professionals who know what they are doing. Listen to them, be open, analyze but always make your own decisions, do not get pulled in all directions. It is your project, your concept, stay true to it.
  3. Pay close attention to physical, cognitive and social ergonomics.
  4. Make sure your design works, quite literally. There is no point in a pretty restaurant if it takes a barmen 15 mins to make a coffee because his work space is ineffective.
  5. And finally learn on your feet. Every day.
Where do you pull inspiration for your designs from?
Everywhere and everything, and sometimes from the most surprising places. Like a nameless vase I bought years ago became the prototype for the massive melting ice inspired chandelier in the Ruski restaurant. Or reading about human design, inspired the shapes of tables for a restaurant I am working on right now. I created a project development concept for each project in which I call the hourglass method. I give a lot of time and attention to the analysis of factors that build the DNA of each project. You see for me, all these factors go into the concept, factors we can influence and those we cannot, we analyze and distill them until we have the concept. Once I arrive at the quintessence, the concept, I unravel it through all human senses, arriving at the development of the design language of the project. Therefore I actively seek factors that shape, or as you put it ‘inspire’ a project to be what it has to be.

Ruski Restaurant, Moscow

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