Designing Dining

RIT ID Students Serve Up Quite the Experience

Jan 19 2018 - 9:51am

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Industrial Design Department, including members of IDSA's Student Chapter at RIT, is serving up the savory results of its eighth annual Metaproject that creates industry partnerships. Designing Dining—a four-course meal experience—was crafted by 16 ID students and an interior design student. The setting: Good Luck Restaurant in Rochester. The perk: being able to use some of the ticket revenue to showcase the Metaproject at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) during New York City's Design Week in May 2018.

RIT ID Department Chair Josh Owen teamed up with Good Luck co-owner Chuck Cerankosky—an RIT industrial design alum!—and chef Dan Martello to lead Designing Dining.

“Students exercised design-thinking and co-design strategies to work together on this experiential and temporal project,” Owen tells us. “They had to expand their thinking beyond the more typical constructs associated with product design to become co-authors of a successful, impactful and memorable community event."

From lighting and signage to music and tabletop accessories, from décor and furniture to the coat check and ordering and payment systems—everything was designed with experience in mind for the sold-out event. Each table runner color matched each dining course, which took its hue cues from colors associated with the four seasons. A live mural, painted using foods represented in the menu, unfolded during the evening; in the end, revealing the theme of  Designing Dining. The meal was served family style at two long tables to 60 diners to encourage communication. 

Senior Elizabeth Rintels, S/IDSA, is a member of the IDSA Student Chapter at RIT. "The challenge of designing an experience required us to apply user-centered design techniques to every facet of the experience and pay close attention to the needs, emotions and the five senses of our dinner guests," she explains. "Through tools such as storyboards and journey maps, we designed memorable parking lot greetings, an innovative coat check system, meal delivery methods and post-dinner mementos to be hidden inside the coat pockets of the guests, among other things."

"These young professionals really are capable of being expansive in their thinking about how to deliver experiences," observes Owen.

Cerankosky was honored to be chosen. “I’ve definitely used my design education professionally, but in a very non-traditional way,” he says.

In the past, Metaprojects built industry partnerships with companies including Umbra, Poppin, Kikkerland and Herman Miller.

Images courtesy of: Elizabeth Torgerson-Lamark and Meghan Marin.