[NYC19]

2019 New York Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Key Dates

19 March - Launch Event
21 May - Standard Deadline
19 September - Extended Deadline
1 October - Judging
7 October - Rating Closes
8 October - Winners Announced
29 October - Awards Presentation

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Image Credit : Andrew Meredith

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Project Overview

Landini Associates’ ‘Ray’ Design concept for McDonald’s, which has been rolling out globally since 2015, has finally landed in Times Square, the first iteration of Ray in NYC. The three-storey restaurant at the corner of 45th and Broadway has a fully glass facade with seating areas overlooking the square.

Project Commissioner

McDonald's Times Square

Project Creator

Landini Associates

Team

Landini Associates are a team of designers and strategic thinkers from around the world, based in Sydney. Their work tends to be multi-skilled as they practice strategy, architecture, interior, graphic, product, furniture and digital design. Most of their projects engage all of these disciplines and currently they are working in Australia, North America, the UK, Europe, Asia and the UAE.

Project Brief

The brief was to create a site-specific evolution of Landini’s global format for McDonald’s, Project Ray, named after the brand’s founder Ray Kroc.

The restaurant is an evolution of Landini Associates’ design - ‘Project Ray’- which launched in 2015 in Hong Kong. The colourful graphic environments that became the signature for McDonald’s internationally are replaced with a quieter approach; the walls of the store decorated only with occasional abstractions of the golden arches, framing the view outside.

Built over three floors, the flagship adopts a composed yet bold approach to design, creating a calm environment of respite in contrast to the energy of the square outside.

A three-story glass curtain wall provides customers with spectacular dining room views out to the beating heart of NYC, and a yellow staircase injects a pop of vibrancy whilst threading its way skywards.

Project Innovation/Need

The Kitchen
The main kitchen is located in the basement, with orders being transported upstairs via dumb-waiters. This design feature is centred around creating a place of total calm and respite, removing the theatre of food production thus giving the space entirely back to the customer.

Lighting
Natural light is supplemented with a computerised lighting system conceived to dramatically alter the mood by day and by night. This calmer, more intimate solution delivers a relaxed night time experience for the diners and a sharper quicker one for the day.

Multiple seating zones
Various seating types and areas have been designed to accommodate families, groups and individuals, and table service has been introduced to improve the experience. Zinc, concrete and oak tables and benches help define these zones, challenging customer’s historical perceptions.

Multiple ordering points
On entering customers will be able to customise and pay for their orders at the latest interactive kiosk stations. Traditional service and pick up points for take away orders are adjacent to these and table service has been introduced too.

Design Challenge

The main design challenge was creating an environment of calm and respite in one of the busiest places on earth. As mentioned previously, in response to the theatre of Times Square we chose to remove the theatre of food production by placing it in the kitchen and giving the dining space entirely back to the customer. Lighting was also key in controlling the mood, and multiple seating zones with various seating types to accomodate for all types of customers.

“The new design is aimed at offering customers a calm respite from the non-stop action of Times Square. We used a timeless material palette of concrete, stainless steel, oak and glass as a backdrop of “recognisable neutrality” promoting the service, the product, and the people who come to enjoy it.”
Jenni Whittaker, General Manager, Landini Associates

“This new Flagship represents a commitment to building a better McDonald’s, showcasing the Experience of the Future for our customers. Digital technology is reshaping customer interactions through models like table service, mobile order and payment, self-order kiosks and delivery focused on making delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. With over 50 million visitors passing through Times Square annually, the restaurant is designed to accommodate one of the largest volumes of customer transactions in the US.”
Max Carmona, Senior Director, McDonald’s.

Sustainability

The interior uses classic, honest and raw materials that will last, and sourced locally wherever possible. Landini Associates’ design approach includes never designing to trends, instead they design to create something special that possesses longevity and as such it is not unusual for the studio’s designs to live up to and beyond 20 years old. This is a studio philosophy that allows for sustainable design, and one that was applied when designing McDonald’s Time Square.




This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes, aesthetic presentation and functionality. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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