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Architect: Landini Associates

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November 3, 2022 / Retail

McDonald’s - A household name with a deep-rooted history with Wilsonart.

A name and a brand that doesn’t need any introduction. We have been working with the fast-food kingpin since 2012 in Australia. The history between Wilsonart and McDonald’s is deep-rooted and longstanding. New Age Oak is used for ceiling linings, benchtops, wall panels, and seating. Manhattan Grey is used on the walls. Every new store around the country, as well as those going through a refurbishment, has these materials supplied by HVG Decorative Building Products.

Since 2019 alone, HVG Decorative Building Products have supplied 100+ McDonald’s restaurants across Australia with materials for fitouts.

The following case study is about Project Ray, when Wilsonart products contributed to the changing look and feel of McDonald’s restaurants.

A BIT OF BACKGROUND

Project Ray has reinvented McDonald’s restaurants around the world. Created by Landini Associates, the project encapsulates architecture and interior design, brand positioning, graphics, packaging, uniforms and global design standards and guidelines. Named after the brand’s founder, Ray Kroc, the fresh brand was first launched at the Admiralty Station restaurant in Hong Kong in 2015.

Since its launch, Project Ray has been sought in every global territory and is now the go-to flagship store model across the world. Project Ray can now be found in New York, San Francisco, London, Poland, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Beijing, Dubai, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, and Brisbane.

THE CHALLENGE

Project Ray was created to bring a quiet simplicity back to McDonald’s restaurants; to create a space that challenged Millennials’ expectations of the brand and made McDonald’s cool again. The ethos behind the project was that amidst a faster and louder world, it was time for quiet and to let the food and service do the talking.

“Eating is a fundamental human interaction,” said Mark Landini, Creative Director of Landini Associates. “A place of commune where we behave as we have for millennia. We need a visually quiet place to do this so we can hear each other talk, laugh, argue and cry.” Project Ray aims to bring humanity back to these fast-paced family restaurants. Through a muted palette and simplicity of form throughout the design it aims to hero the social and community-based elements of the restaurants.

THE SOLUTION

To achieve this, Project Ray uses timeless materials and design to give the restaurants a feel of classic calm. In Australia, Wilsonart’s Manhattan Grey concrete look laminate is used for the walls, and New age Oak laminate is used for the furniture and ceilings. The concrete laminate, in particular, is selected for its realistic, textured finish, while the embossed grain on the timber laminate adds a layer of texture to what could be an otherwise flat surface.

Combined with glass and stainless steel, the palette is one of stylish simplicity; a backdrop of “recognisable neutrality” promoting the service, the product, and the people who come to enjoy it.” The combination of colours and finishes creates an urban, almost industrial aesthetic – but one that is still warm, friendly and welcoming. Within Project Ray, Wilsonart’s concrete laminate becomes an integral part of an all-encompassing design toolkit that can be tweaked to tell individual stories while still being unmistakably part of a single brand.

It’s safe to say that the majority of people who have been to a Project Ray-designed restaurant remember just how different they feel than McDonalds’ previous restaurant designs. And this is just another part of the project’s brilliance.

“Creating simple places and spaces is much harder than creating loud and fashionable ones,” says Landini, “Creating memorable simple spaces is harder still.”

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