Creating a functional, visually-appealing kitchen design is difficult enough in one's own home, but implementing these same principles at scale brings new challenges entirely. This was precisely what LIV Design Studio was tasked with when we were asked to design the interiors for Club Kitchen – an innovative food hall concept located in Vancouver's Yaletown neighbourhood.

In this article, we'll be speaking with Dickson Chu, LIV Design Studio's Senior Interior Designer, to get an inside look at each step of the design process. We'll also be sharing some inspiration that drove our team's work, and examples of exceptional commercial kitchen design that can be replicated in the home.

[Pictured in Header: Concept Rendering of Club Kitchen by LIV Design Studio]

Beyond a Commissary Kitchen

"Our first aim was to get to the heart of what Club Kitchen would offer guests. Was this going to be a food court? A commissary kitchen? We hoped to mix elements of both to provide a wholly new dining experience."
-Dickson Chu, Senior Interior Designer at LIV Design Studio

Club Kitchen was born out of a desire to create a new type of food service business. The client envisioned the project as a 'food hall' that would house a number of different concepts, similar to a commissary, but that would also enable seamless delivery orders and a more complete dine-in experience similar to traditional brick & mortar spaces.

Thus followed a research phase where the LIV Design Studio visited several local commissary kitchens and restaurants to better understand what went into a successful commercial kitchen. Our team also spoke with a number of restaurant owners to grasp their unique needs and start ideating new ways to address the needs of modern chefs and diners.

[Pictured in Carousel: Floorplans for Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio]

Laying the Foundation

"Efficient space utilization is incredibly important for commercial kitchens. Every inch needs to be highly functional, maximizing workflow while minimizing wasted space. As such, we spent plenty of time maneuvering the different spaces to create a layout that allowed for easy movement during busy services."
-Dickson Chu, Senior Interior Designer at LIV Design Studio

At this early stage, the LIV Design Studio team had already begun to understand the need for purposefully utilized space in commercial kitchens – a particularly pressing challenge for Club Kitchen due to the need to accommodate thirteen distinct kitchen spaces in a single venue.

Each of the thirteen kitchens would highlight a different global cuisine with unique cooking needs, with each space also requiring its own separate fridge and storage for the chefs' convenience. Flexibility and modularity were at the heart of our design ethos throughout, and frequent consultation with equipment and service providers was necessary to get a sense of potential specifications and determine what appliances and finishes would best suit the venue.

[Pictured here: In-progress photos of Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio and photographed by Yuan Sheng He]

Durability, Functionality, and Aesthetics

"Since many aspects of commercial kitchen design were new to us, it was important to be in constant consultation with our suppliers to gain their expertise. From appliances to finishes, we tried to strike a balance between durability, functionality, and aesthetics."
-Dickson Chu, Senior Interior Designer at LIV Design Studio

One of the most challenging aspects of Club Kitchen's creation was modulating functionality within the kitchens while also designing a customer-facing side that maximized the potential of the stunning Yaletown location.

Walking into Club Kitchen, one is struck by the natural light that abounds within. This was a conscious choice by Chu and the LIV Design Studio team, with windows throughout the reception and dining area as well as within the thirteen kitchens helping bathe the space in light throughout the day. Lighter colour materials were chosen for the walls to heighten the natural brightness, with walls, floors, and ceiling finished with washable materials for convenient cleaning.

Technical requirements also became a frequent obstacle to surmount, with unique challenges posed by the number of kitchen spaces. Working closely with mechanical engineers, our team helped identify ventilation locations within the kitchen spaces and ensured there was ample ceiling space to ensure air circulation throughout to meet building codes and create a pleasant atmosphere.

[Pictured here: Completed project photos of Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio and photographed by Yuan Sheng He]

Looking to the Future

Applying LIV Design Studio's TECH/DESIGN/CULTURE ethos to this project was key for designing an innovative experience from top to bottom. Working with the client and service providers, our team helped to facilitate a seamless connection between individual kitchens, in-person kiosks, and a 'concierge' area where delivery orders are processed and picked up.

Linked by tablets that accommodate both orders from delivery partners and also help owners manage inventory and product ordering, kitchen spaces are part of a cohesive network and reap the benefits of this shared partnership. LIV Design Studio played a key role in reinforcing this technological link while allowing each individual kitchen to be entirely self-sustaining.

At each point, sustainable practices were prioritized to ensure the longevity of this groundbreaking project. Energy-efficient appliances were selected wherever possible, and both kitchens and concierge area have recycling and composting programs in place to enforce circular consumption throughout Club Kitchen.

[Pictured here: Completed project photos of Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio and photographed by Yuan Sheng He]

Tips for Home Kitchen Design

Aspiring interior designers can easily replicate the principles of Club Kitchen's design in their own home with these tips from Dickson.

"Start by honestly assessing your lifestyle and cooking habits, then invest in appliances and cookware that fit your needs. Less is more when creating a functional kitchen."

Of particular importance when working within space constraints or with unique layouts, prioritizing functionality over excess is the key to creating a space you want to cook in.

"Optimize your storage space. Having ample storage solutions help free up valuable floor space to make it far easier to move around."

In a home kitchen context, this could mean choosing vertically-oriented shelving that becomes part of the design. If you're remodeling, investing in gorgeous and functional cabinetry will ensure your kitchen grows alongside your needs over time.

[Pictured here: Completed project photos of Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio and photographed by Yuan Sheng He]

Closing thoughts on Kitchen Design

As delivery and ghost kitchens become increasingly popular, commercial kitchens will continue to evolve to incorporate storage and equipment that makes spaces more efficient and versatile. LIV Design Studio's work on Club Kitchen was an invaluable opportunity to apply our core TECH/DESIGN/CULTURE principles to a new medium, using our signature hyper-realistic 3D renderings to envision a functional layout that maximized available space.

As we conclude this behind-the-scenes journey into the creation of Club Kitchen, we hope you've gleaned valuable insights applicable not only to commercial ventures but also to your own home kitchen design endeavors.

[Pictured here: Completed project photos of Club Kitchen, designed by LIV Design Studio and photographed by Yuan Sheng He]

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