USA. New York design firm Icrave has given The Moodie Davitt Report exclusive insights into the thinking behind an enhanced retail and food & beverage offering in expanding Austin Bergstrom International Airport’s original main terminal.
The company has worked on behalf of concessionaire Delaware North on a 22,459sq ft programme to create ten new venues housing 16 brands, all of which have opened for business in recent weeks.
Describing the overarching theme of the project, Icrave founder and CEO Lionel Ohayon said: “The programme exhibits the iconic spirit of the city, with a focus on local staples and music – aimed to make the airport an extension of the cultural offerings of the city.
“The design aesthetics are personal to each brand, yet cohesive in their acknowledgement of the character of Austin.”
The brief to create “anxiety-free, tech-savvy luxurious experiences” has produced 13 new F&B venues and three new retail spaces.
Highlights of the F&B line-up include the 4,838sq ft Heart of Austin, home to a variety of eateries and a stage for live performances.
The three retail spaces are Book People (from the largest independently-owned bookstore in Austin), Tyler’s and Austin Warehouse (Austin-themed store selling apparel and souvenirs) and a JetSet market featuring Austin novelties and travel essentials.
Delaware North’s commercial area revamp coincides with the just-opened US$350 million Barbara Jordan Terminal at Austin Bergstrom, which has added the extra capacity of 11 million passengers annually. The concessionaire has also been the lead player behind a number of new F&B and retail outlets in the 175,000sq ft development.
Here, Icrave’s Lionel Ohayon gives The Moodie Davitt Report an exclusive insight to the design thinking behind each new F&B venue and retail store in the original main terminal.
Haymaker (1,705sq ft)
“Haymaker Austin is a classic local sports bar with an industrial edge, a touch of hospitality, and tons of UT [University of Texas] pride. The bright graphics of reclaimed gym floors pop against a neutral, dark palette. Galvanised steel dining chairs reflect the casual fare, while black leather banquettes offer the perfect seat to catch a game.
“The bar features changing, digital craft beer menus, over 30 taps, and numerous big-screen TVs. High top, communal seating and an interactive memorabilia wall promote the social atmosphere of this friendly, neighbourhood bar while embracing Austin’s history, community, and culture.”
Jetset Austin (1,216sq ft)
“The new Jetset brand is refined, romantic and ready to go. The brand solves for quality convenience, building a bridge between everyday essentials and luxury items that are positioned to entice the jetsetter. The space is divided in four different sub-zones carrying a consistent aesthetic throughout the space:
Media lab – giving importance to the product itself, a linear display subdivides the magazines and newspapers.
Local made – a room within a room jewel box to stand out drawing attention to local goods.
Apothecary – the brightest in the whole store, with white shelving, and integrated light.
Food market – the warmest part in the overall design with wood millwork wrapping the walls.
“An overall navy blue is constant throughout the space, being the wood also used as a unifier, with certain pops of bright yellow. The main entrance façade is composed of Austin specific signage and marquee.”
Tacodeli (1,591sq ft)
“Tacodeli has been gaining popularity around Austin recently and what better place to cement the brand’s dominance than in Austin Bergstrom International Airport? Reflected in the materials and palette, the design mixes refined and subtle with and vibrant and energetic. Bold graphics are used on the interior of the light features to create impact against the wood louvered ceiling.
“Neon signage and bright bold pops of colour work in conjunction with metal mesh accents to create a low-key playful modern restaurant. Graphically applied wall tile wraps around the bar to a small music nook where performers can serenade diners and those rushing for a flight, bringing down the anxiety level of all.”
Einstein Bros. Bagels (642sq ft)
“Taking into account the Einstein Bros. Bagels brand, we looked to create a dynamic and vibrant interpretation for the Austin location. A bold yellow band is used to create a bright energetic entry moment that pairs well with the vibrancy of the next door Tacodeli.
“Feature marquee lighting is used in tandem with the laser cut metal panels to really feature the entry signage pulling people into the space. The yellow band around the full venue also helps to unify the space with the existing FIDs as well as complement a similar feature at the Jetset Market across the concourse.
“The yellow band around the full venue also helps to unify the space with the existing FIDs. After you’ve confirmed your departing gate in the FIDs take a peek inside the glass bagel display brought to the front to showcase the quality and freshness of the well-known brand’s signature bagels.”
Salt Lick (1,466sq ft)
“A staple of Austin culture, Salt Lick is inspired by the raw authenticity of its original Driftwood location. Combining fundamental materials and robust structure into a humble environment, this new location gives an Austin BBQ experience like no other. Travellers’ needs are met with an ample number of outlets and, of course, a sauce rail at every seat.
“Various seating options at the bar, dining tables, and communal tables offer individual privacy or the chance to share a meal with a group or with someone new. Numerous screens offer menu flexibility and brand media opportunities for visual enjoyment.
“Approaching down the west concourse from the Heart of Austin, visitors are received by a large, glowing canopy of wood and metal mesh that wraps under, drawing customers into the restaurant. Once inside, the cutting station is highlighted by a circular glow above, bringing customers front and centre to the barbecue action.
“Directly under the canopy, the bar features a variety of drink options, as well as the signature Salt Lick sangria. Distressed wood, rough stone, and worn concrete keep the new space familiar, while the blackened steel, metal mesh, and honest lighting give a unique flavour to a local favourite.”
West Food Park (3,044sq ft)
“Located at the western crossroads of the airport circulation, this food park is in the perfect location to been seen from a wide variety of vantage points. Consisting of four venues: East Side Pies, Pizza, Hat Creek Burger Company, and Amy’s Ice Creams – with a ‘Grab n Go Market’ there are numerous jewels, but one of several Instagrammable moments designed into this airport is the wooden billboard. It acts as the focal element and unifier for all four venues.
“It is the first thing you’ll see when approaching your gate and it’s the last thing you’ll see when leaving the airport. East Side Pies, started by Paul Qui and Moto Utsunomiya, is a big contributor to the Austin food truck community. This venue with its warm wood tones and colourful artistic wall murals reflects the fun and energetic vibe initiated and represented by this brand.
“Hat Creek Burger Company has a neutral, casual palette of wood tones, whites and grays with a pop of red. The Grab n Go Market is a clean, fresh backdrop allowing the four venues to really pop out and remain in the foreground. Amy’s Ice Creams is a hip, fun and playful venue.”
Book People (1,595sq ft)
“As the largest independently-owned, and most popular, bookstore in Austin, Book People’s re-design merited a space as inviting and familiar as its home store in downtown Austin, while being vibrant enough to cater to Austin’s constantly-evolving population of locals and visitors.
“Incorporating characteristics of its original location, like Book People’s familiar blue logo and comfortable chairs that dot each section of the store, Book People at the airport aims to create a warm and inviting central “Reading Lounge” with sleek retail displays that allow the lounge to be the heart of the space.
“This light space is then wrapped in a net-like metal cladding and frosted glass walls to further intensify the feeling of ease around the inviting heart of the room. A reclaimed wood checkout counter and copper pendant lights add earthy touches to the space without overpowering the product.
“At the west end of the store, a “Wi-Fi bar” with ash wood and stainless steel bar-height tables that allow for wireless charging and power connectivity allow Wi-Fi access and a convenient place to stop and check emails before a flight.”
Tyler’s and Austin Warehouse (2,899sq ft)
“Located in the heart of the airport (neighbouring the Heart of Austin) the Tyler’s and Austin Warehouse spaces are inspired by a mix of the natural materials and maker culture of Austin and the bold playful spirit of its people. In addition to their physical proximity to the Heart of Austin, both spaces also take their inspiration from typical Austin house typologies.
“Being in such a heavily trafficked area, the products are highlighted in showcase windows. Rotating products are displayed with shadow box window displays. Continuing with the overall themes at the airport Tyler’s and Austin Warehouse balances natural materials and a neutral palette with bold pops of colour and stylish and modern displays.”
Heart of Austin (4,838sq ft)
“The Heart of Austin is the reason one decides to come to the airport an extra hour or two early. The layout allows customer to enter on a whim and into a bustling beer hall environment revealing the stage as a backdrop to the space. It has a local Austin feel architecturally inspired by Austin house typologies abstracted to their essential forms. The feature bleacher seating above Joe’s Coffee allows a prime view to the “Asleep at the Wheel” stage.
“And among the playful Adirondack chair lounge, the food truck parts, Joe’s Coffee wall, and the shuffleboard and other games there are plenty of moments for solo traveller, family, business traveller, or a group of friends to enjoy themselves (and get some good shots for social media #abia #austin #keepitweird #keepitawesome).”
Rainey Street Market (3,463sq ft)
“Inspired by the eclectic energy of its namesake neighbourhood, Rainey Street Market is a warm and vibrant space that supports the needs of both the local foodie and the hurried traveller. Central to the design of the market is its iconic neon sign which acts as a beacon to draw travellers into the space.
“Once inside, neutral finishes and warm, dark tones allow the merchandise to take centre stage. Farm tables, glass pendants, and wood-paneled walls echo the friendly, residential Rainey Street vibe, while sleek, black details keep the space contemporary and fresh. A grab-and-go market offers quick, light fare for those on the move.
“Exciting local vendors and hand-picked artisanal products provide an authentic taste of Austin to its visitors. Picnic tables intended for communal gathering are wired for charging on the go, while touch-to-order options, digital menu boards, and self-checkout stations bring convenience and efficiency to the bustling market.”
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The company also organises the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards. Last year’s FAB took place on 20-21 June in Helsinki. FAB 2019 will be held in Dallas, hosted by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on 26-27 June.